Owner Peter Hussey moved to New York City from Ireland at the age of 24 with his own vision of the American dream.
“I wanted a change of scenery,” Hussey said. “I was working in bars and restaurants in Ireland, and it felt like the ultimate experience in that industry would be New York City.”
Western Kentucky is a far cry from the Big Apple, but today the Irish-born restaurant owner calls it his home.
Hussey, 40, now runs the Black Patch Grille in Princeton.
The family restaurant owned also by his wife, Lisa Hussey and her parents, Jim and Cindy Torpey, currently features some American-Style dinners and appetizers, but Hussey has added a few of his Irish heritage dishes to the menu, with fish ’n’ chips, Friday night special bangers and mash, Guinness burgers, corned beef and cabbage, and steak and Guinness pie.
As a younger man, he said, he spent 12 years working at different Irish pubs and restaurants in NYC. During three of those years he ran Session House, an Irish cuisine restaurant on Manhattan’s east side.
“The difference between Ireland and the States is that there’s more opportunity here to make things happen,” he said. “I feel like if you arrive here and work hard, put your mind to something, there’s a great chance of actually achieving it.”
While it’s rare to see a restaurateur migrate from Manhattan to a small Kentucky town, a string of circumstances had him “always trying to get closer to Princeton” after spending a few years in Nashville, Tennessee, and then Atlanta.
“We decided NYC wasn’t the sort of place (my wife and I) wanted to raise our children,” he said. “My wife’s family lived in Princeton, so we moved originally to be closer to everyone.”
He received a chance one day when Lisa’s parents called him about the Black Patch Grille for sale by its previous owners, Chuck and Lori Adams. After a recent December move, the four owners have been working hard to put their quality stamp on the restaurant.
Other goals include continuing the family atmosphere of the old Black Patch Grille. Hussey wants it to be a place where families can dine or friends can watch a game.
“I like meeting people,” he said. “You meet so many from different walks of life in bars and restaurants. I like the fact I can provide good food for people, and it’s rewarding to see people coming in and having them leave happy.”
The Lake Barkley Chamber of Commerce provides information for these weekly profiles.
Portions of the preceding article originally appeared in The Paducah Sun.