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O’Malley’s Pub open as ‘corner beer stop with good food’

By Steve Huffman
shuffman@salisburypost.com
Dave Bates was in law enforcement for more than 10 years, last serving as a deputy with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.
He’s a big guy with a shaved head and a Fu Manchu mustache, a transplant from the North who’s not afraid to speak his mind.
So it’s safe to say there’s not a lot that intimidates Bates.
But when it comes to opening his own restaurant/bar … well, Bates admits to a hint of concern, especially deciding to kick off the venture at a time when the economy is far from its best.
“Does it intimidate me?” Bates said, repeating a question that’d been posed concerning his business.
“No,” he finally decided before pausing again.
After a moment, Bates continued.
“Does it scare the hell out of me?” he said. “Yes.”
But as soon as Bates admitted as much, he laughed aloud, letting everyone within earshot know that regardless of any headaches that might await him, he’s faced worse.
Three weeks ago, Bates opened O’Malley’s Pub & Eatery at 117 S. Lee St. in downtown Salisbury. The location is the former site of The Wicked Sister, a sandwich shop. Next door is The Salty Caper.
Bates, 44, is a native of western Massachusetts. His wife, Angelia, is a graduate of North Rowan High School. The couple have three children: Michael, 17, Zachary, 10, and Nicole, 7.
Bates has been out of law enforcement for five years and over that time has operated Super Slide Amusements, a business that features those huge inflatables that are popular at children’s parties.
“We’ve worked from Key West to Michigan,” Bates said of how far his inflatables business has traveled.
As part of that, Bates also prepares concessions, selling and preparing an assortment of foods. “My mobile cooking unit has been a big part of our success,” he said.
Bates said other family members have been involved in the restaurant business, but this is his first venture.
He said he felt lucky to have landed the restaurant, with about 50 people having expressed an interest in opening a business there.
“For me, this location is the perfect fit,” Bates said.
He said he hopes that downtown Salisbury continues to grow with a variety of restaurants and bars. The Salty Caper is well known for its micro-brews and pizzas.
Bates said his restaurant should complement The Salty Caper, with neither restaurant being a threat to the other.
“We have a great neighborhood relationship,” he said. “They have the micro-brews. We’ll have the domestics. Businesses don’t breed competition, they breed opportunity.”
For the time being, O’Malley’s will have a relatively simple menu ó chicken wings, buffalo shrimp, cheesesteaks, chips, fries and the like, all served with homemade sauces.
Eventually, Bates said, he hopes to expand the menu, offering traditional Irish staples like corned beef and cabbage and shepherd’s pie ó dishes that come natural to him. He is half Irish and half Italian.
Joseph Cataldo, who used to own and operate Uncle Louie’s Italian Restaurant in Spencer, is a long-time friend and running mate of Bates. Both are natives of Massachusetts and share the ability to cut to the chase when it comes to conversation.
“Dave is a good guy, I think he’ll do well,” said Cataldo, who also supplies Bates with homemade sausage that’s served on sandwiches at the restaurant.
“It’ll be another good, downtown family restaurant,” Cataldo continued. “He’s got his whole family involved, which is good. When it comes to the restaurant business, the hours are so demanding it’s important to have the whole family involved.”
Bates’ son, Michael, an Eagle Scout and recent graduate of North Rowan High who’s headed to Catawba College, owns a 10 percent share of O’Malley’s. Israel Melton, who lives in the Firehouse Urban Lofts above the restaurant, owns a 20 percent stake.
Bates is a popular sight around Salisbury and Spencer from his time coaching local youth football and baseball teams. He’s also an assistant Scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 349 at Central Methodist Church in Spencer.
Bates said he’d like to organize Salisbury’s downtown restaurants and bars to where there’s something similar to a “bar crawl” that’s popular in larger, older municipalities ó Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., included.
At those events, patrons walk from one pub to another with coupons redeemable for a single drink at each.
Bates said that with the number of such establishments flourishing in downtown Salisbury, the businesses could feed off one another, generating a healthy economic environment.
“Where I come from, you can find a good little restaurant on every corner,” Bates said. “That’s what I’d like to see here. I want to be your corner beer stop with good food.”
– – –
O’Malley’s Pub & Eatery is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The business opens at noon on Sunday and will remain open as late as business demands. The business will deliver with a minimum food order of $20. For information, call the business at 704-754-5697.

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