Home is on St. John Street for Coakley Family
A conversation with Margie Logan, co-owner of Coakley's Irish Pub.
When Margie Logan was making sales calls for Heinz Ketchup, she kept a running wish-list of what she’d do if she ever owned a bar or a restaurant. That list grew and grew.
Logan, having spent her entire youth in Havre de Grace—Giles Street in particular—had been living outside of the city for ten years and missed it.
So when a friend told her that Vigna’s, an Italian restaurant, was on the market, she couldn’t shake it from her mind. At the time, she was living in Laurel. The price was “super-reasonable” and Logan chewed on the idea for about a month.
Add to that appealing menu, the two apartments above and Logan felt it was the perfect recipe to bring her back home. Logan kept telling herself, and others, she was going to buy it.
It was the Fourth of July in 1996 when she told older brother, Dwayne Coakley, who was working in construction and real estate then. Coakley's response: “I’ll do it with you.”
So after about six months Coakley's Irish Pub in Havre de Grace became a reality. Logan was back in Havre de Grace and able to put together that dream menu. With a few changes here and there, that menu exists to this day.
It’s been history ever since. In fact, 14 years of history was celebrated Feb. 6.
“It’s basically been everything I’d hoped that it would be and I don’t regret it a bit. I don’t miss that corporate world,” Logan reflects.
Business owners can attest to the many roles they take on, but Dwayne and Margie seem to have it down.
“Dwayne and I are pretty much 50-50, I run the kitchen, he runs the bar. We’re hands-on ownership for sure. You always see our faces. We really enjoy it,” Logan said laughing. “[Dwayne's] going to laugh at that. But no, we really have a lot of fun.”
That has become a mantra of sorts as far as Margie is concerned. She estimated putting in about 60-70 hours a week.
“Here, I just love to come to work and I want everybody to feel that same way, to look forward to coming in. And we do, we have a good time. We work really hard. But work hard, play hard has been my philosophy. I want them to want to come to work.”
Logan says they have little employee turnover.
“Most people that quit here and move on—like if they just graduated from college—they still want to work here one day a week because that’s what they like to do,” she said.
Logan said she’s seen many changes in 14 years, admitting that downtown was not what it is today. “We really hoped that we would benefit Havre de Grace by staying in here and fixing it up.”
Today Coakley’s spans the whole block with five dining rooms and three bars across four addresses. There are six rental apartment above the pub.
Logan confessed that she didn’t think the business would take off as it did.
“We were so successful the first year that we had to get bigger," she said. "We had to get bigger.”
Apparently, family is a part of the game at this restaurant too. Margie said her nephew, Cody Holliday, who signed with the New York Mets and recently graduated college will be working there until he heads off to spring training. In addition, their other nephew works there, as well as Dwayne’s son, Tyler.
Logan said adding that her 7-year-old twins, Liam and Lev, both want to work there someday.
Logan said she enjoys the flexibility of running a business and living in Havre de Grace and that they like to support the community where they grew up. She said Dwayne is involved with Havre de Grace football (both youth league and as a coach for JV and videographer for varsity) while Logan is involved at Havre de Grace Elementary School.
She really appreciates being back home.
“It’s a nice town. People don’t leave Havre de Grace and if they do, they come back," a fact she knows all too well. "I was gone for ten years. When I graduated college, I wanted to live in the city. Then [I] moved to Baltimore and my job had me moving everywhere, but I wanted to come back home.”
As they say, home is where the heart is. And these Coakleys have that all figured out.