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“There really is a guy named Shawn O’Donnell! The proud grandson of Irish immigrants.”


I grew up in Mountlake Terrace and first dove into the restaurant business when I opened a 48-seat sandwich shop, in Terrace, called “The Lunch Box” in 1982. Just 22 years old with not much money, I am not sure how we did it, but with some help from family and friends, somehow we made it work.


In 1987 I had a chance to really get into the restaurant business and buy a struggling full service restaurant with a cocktail lounge named Michael Deans. Now 27 years old, married and no children, I wasn’t afraid of anything, certainly not business failure, so off we went on the latest business adventure. After a renovation the restaurant was renamed The 41st Street Bar and Grill, located in Everett.  In 1996 the restaurant was again renamed, this time - Shawn O’Donnell’s. After 17 years at the 41st street location I worked to build from the ground up the restaurant currently located just to the east of I-5 on 128th Street in South Everett. We finished building the new restaurant building and opened to a welcoming crowd on September 29th 2006. 


So much fun in those early days on 128th. New building, new equipment, great staff, enough customers. Now we are called “Shawn O’Donnell’s American Grill and Irish Pub”. Kinda long but I felt it captured who we are and what we are trying to do. We were and still are having a blast exploring and learning about our grand Irish heritage.


My wife Tina and I have been married since 1979. Tina owned a hair salon from 1980 to 2017. She had an amazing run those many years at “Tina’s Hair and Tanning Salon”. We have two children, both who grew up bussing tables and hanging out at dad’s restaurant.  After grabbing degrees at the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!) both Shawn Jr. and Sophie decided to give careers in this family business a go.


Now, with my two grown children and my sister’s daughter Kristen and neighbor kid and Shawn Jr’s UW buddy Chase, it was time to grow this business. We started looking for a second location and found a cool spot at the base of Seattle’s amazing and iconic Smith Tower; from 1914 until the Space Needle came along it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi. We opened Shawn O’Donnell’s at the Smith Tower in September 2013. Buoyed by a busy Pioneer Square and four great years for the neighboring Seahawks and Sounders, this has been a great location and a resounding success.


With the Smith Tower and South Everett locations clipping along, it was time to start snooping around again. We spotted the Fremont location in 2015. This was a cool corner spot that was shuttered after a tough run as a place called “Hunger”. We also found it had been a McMenamin’s location with the name “Dad Watson’s”. After several months of negotiations and several more under construction we opened Shawn O’Donnell’s Fremont at 3601 Fremont Ave, in January 2017. The space turned out great and the neighborhood just feels right. When my dad was a boy, the family lived in Fremont and I can remember being at my grandmother’s house, just off Fremont Ave, up the hill from the restaurant.


Our partner Chase moved to Spokane in 2018 to be near his wife’s family and the great lifestyle that is the Spokane area. He wasn’t there long, before he called asking, “would you be interested in doing a restaurant in Spokane?” I responded, “see what you can find”.  A short time later he called with the news that he had found the coolest restaurant he had ever seen. We jumped in the truck. What he had found was the recently closed Milford’s Fish House, a legendary Spokane watering hole for 40 years. After the usual haggling we bought the restaurant including the building. Then set to remodeling the kitchen. We mostly kept the pub and dining room much the same as it had been. We opened Shawn O’Donnell’s Spokane in December 2019 with Chase at the helm. It has been a booming success. Expect to see Chase there for many years to come.


We persevered through the pandemic, bobbing and weaving through each step. We proudly kept operations at the 4 operating pubs at the time with help from our communities. Two years and a pandemic later, we tapped into the best qualities of our Irish ancestors - adaptability, perseverance, and optimism - keeping all 4 locations afloat and opening the doors to our newest location in the Skagit Valley. On January 29, 2022 the family purchased The Farmhouse Restaurant, a regional favorite, endeared by many as a long-time staple in the community. We quickly we’re able to win over the community by keep all members of the Farmhouse employed through renovations, keeping guest favorites on the menu, while introducing our Irish and American menu items that you can find at all our locations. Renovations took just over a year and we celebrated our Grand Opening in March 2023, showcasing a full remodel of the interior with dark wood finishes, granite countertop bar counter, updated tables and booths, banquet spaces and bathrooms. My niece and long-time partner in the business, Kristen Nannery, has been running the restaurant alongside myself. Kristen and her family moved to Mount Vernon for the position and have been settling in nicely.


And now our story continues. If you are familiar with us, you probably know who Irish Johnny is. Born and raised in Ireland, he has helped us stay true to our Irish roots. He shared his love for Butte, Montana with us, which brought us to our newest location.  Now moving across state lines we are excited to expand to our first location outside of Washington. This will be our 6th location, and proudly will be owned and operated by the family. The restaurant is located at 123 N Main Street, the previous home of Mac’s Tavern and the adjacent space. The building has a long history dating back to 1884 and is a historical landmark. We will open the doors as soon as possible with some renovations required. By early next year the space will be completed renovated and a beautiful traditional Shawn O’Donnell’s Irish Restaurant. We’re proud to expand to the Ireland of the Rockies!



Our Restaurant Team

Shawn O’Donnell Sr. Over sees operations, tries not to work too  hard  -

Tina O’Donnell, Shawn’s wife who never sits down and never stops working -

Shawn O’Donnell Jr., Regional Manager. Never stops thinking about the restaurant business -

Molly O’Donnell, Jr’s wife, Operations and Marketing Director, always thinking of ways to improve -

Sophie Taylor, Shawn’s daughter, full time mom and Everett Events Manager, pub tender and the voice of reason -

Joel Taylor, Sophie’s husband. Has a real job elsewhere, but can’t stay away -

Kristen Nannery, Sr’s niece, the ultimate planner and Managing Partner at Skagit-

Jake Nannery, Kristen's husband.  Can't wait to retire from his job in software to work in the restaurant -

Chase Van Cotthem, Spokane GM, super shopper, Jr’s Best Friend he sucked in to the restaurant business -

Irish Johnny, our resident Irishmen to keep us authentic, Butte Aficionado

Chad Davis, Fremont GM, Excel Master, Cocktail Connoisseur – proudly started as a busser at 16 and now General Manager –

Robbie Williamson, Smith Tower GM, learning the ropes quickly and always with a smile–

Peter Ryan – Executive Chef, Menu Development – simply the best we’ve ever had.

Teresa Roberts – GM of Skagit, long time manager of Farmhouse, keeps us true to the roots of Skagit Valley and a huge dog lover!




Shawn O’Donnell Sr.

August 2023

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