, Salem, MA

April 24, 2013

With Kelley's Pub, East Boston comes to Peabody Square

By Alan Burke
Staff writer

---- — PEABODY — It might take a little getting used to. Yes, it will be Kelley’s Pub, moving into the space in downtown Peabody previously occupied by the Firebull Restaurant.

But, no, you won’t be served scones and corned beef.

“We’re world-famous for our pizza and barbecue and Italian specialties,” said John Mastrangelo, 73, whose son, also John Mastrangelo, 52, will be the owner of the new business, set to open in a few months.

Before that happens, John the elder said, the whole place will be renovated. Afterward, he’s looking forward to a booming business based on the good name achieved by his Kelley Square Pub in East Boston.

“No one ever forgets East Boston,” he said. “We’ve been here 25 years.”

Mastrangelo cites the good reviews that the restaurant has garnered over the years, including on programs like “Phantom Gourmet.”

The move to Peabody is a big boost for the downtown, City Councilor Jim Liacos said.

“I think this is great,” he said. “That’s an important part of the square right on that corner. The only negative is the parking. There’s not a lot of places to park there.”

Firebull failed in the same spot, but Liacos is optimistic about Kelley’s.

“I’ll be down there to see what he’s got. ... This is just what the square needs,” he said. “If they serve good food and have good service, they’ll be successful.”

Parking aside, the downtown location remains problematic, despite current efforts to renovate the area. A reputation for flooding is probably the major drawback, but the Mastrangelos are going in with their eyes wide-open.

“We have been looking in Peabody for while,” the elder Mastrangelo said. “We live near there. I live in Lynnfield, and my son lives in Peabody.”

Pumps — and lots of them — will help keep the place dry, he said.

Meanwhile, there is a simple explanation for the restaurant’s name.

“We have Italian food and an Irish name,” Mastrangelo said with a laugh. It came about because the original restaurant is located at East Boston’s Kelley Square. It has a sports pub decor — with photos of people like Ted Williams, Bobby Orr, Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis on the walls — which will be replicated in Peabody.

Mastangelo is a former welterweight boxer who sparred for champions like Paul Pender and Tony DeMarco.

There will be a bar and tables. Pizza is expected to cost from $10 to $12, barbecue $10 and a full meal up to $20.

The future already looks bright, Mastrangelo said. Many North Shore locals have visited his East Boston location. “And a lot of Peabody residents have heard the scuttlebutt, and they’ve been calling asking when we’re going to open.”