The Tin Hangar delivers on the promise of casual fare dining for year-rounders. Burgers, sandwiches and fried pickles are served in black plastic baskets, a gentle nod to cafeteria dining. Pizzas are hand-tossed and loaded up by choice. On a recent Sunday evening, the bar seats were mostly full with customers eating, drinking and watching the Patriots game.

Tin Hangar officially opened for business last Tuesday in the space formerly occupied by Flatbread, near the airport. The restaurant is owned by Brion McGroarty, who also owns MV Wine and Spirits which is technically in the same building.

Leslie Floyd and Jack McGroarty. — Mark Lovewell

The McGroarty family is not new to the restaurant industry, having owned the Wharf for 18 years. It is also a true family affair, with both of Mr. McGroarty’s sons helping out. Brion Jr. is at the helm of MV Wine and Spirits and his brother Jack is Tin Hangar’s general manager.

Even with the struggles of beginning a new business, Jack McGroarty looks back at the first week as a success.

“An interesting dynamic we’ve discovered is how much this place is appreciated by up-Islanders,” he said. “In the winter time they have very few options and don’t want to make the long trek down-Island. This is a nice easy stop for them.”

The menu was designed by chef Brian Counihan, who brought some New Orleans influence to dishes such as the low country battered catfish with Cajun tartar. Mr. Counihan has experience in high-end and casual dining.

“When we approached him about this, we told him it was definitely the more casual end, which I think he gets excited about,” Jack said.

A symbiotic relationship has bloomed between Tin Hangar and MV Wine and Spirits.
“If you just want to grab a pizza and an appetizer and a six pack and a bottle of wine, you’re in and out for less than 40 bucks,” Jack said.

Jack McGroarty worked the front of house at the Wharf for a long time before he went into the insurance business. He said coming back to manage a restaurant is a hit of nostalgia. He’s using his recent education in craft beers from working at MV Wine and Spirits, as well as becoming a cicerone certified beer server, to the restaurant’s advantage, creating what he calls “an advance bar for people who are dining.”

Menu includes New Orleans influence. — Mark Lovewell

With three rotating beers on tap, along with an extensive selection of canned beer, from Bud to Unita Tangerine Hop Nosh, there is a beer for everyone. Tin Hangar opened last week with a keg of Lunch, a very hard to procure beer from the Maine Brewery Company. It didn’t last long, nor did a keg of Jack’s Abby Kiwi Rising (one of Jack McGroarty’s favorites).

“Most people who are beer geeks have been really impressed with our beer selection and our rolling draft lines,” Jack said.

The space is both new and familiar with the mural and tin roofed bar still intact. A new wall cuts the space in half, with the restaurant taking up the front half of the old building. The McGroartys plan to lease the second half of the building.

“We had to make the space more manageable,” Jack said.

To brighten up the space from its low lit nightclub past, they painted the walls, added sconces and installed new light-colored wood floors. They kept a nod to the most iconic of its past lives, The Hot Tin Roof, in the name.

Tin Hangar will be open all year long, with a year-round beer and wine license, and a seasonal liquor license. The compromise was a way to reach their intended customers after being unable to extend their seasonal liquor license. “The real vision for this place is a place for Islanders,” said Jack McGroarty. “When we look at it and the people who come to the store next door, that’s who we see.”