New ‘Highland Stag’ in Springboro boasts generations of authenticity

Operating Celtic restaurants runs in the family of the owner and manager of The Highland Stag at 75 N. Main St. in downtown Springboro.

Owner Ann MacKenzie comes from a line of restaurateurs in Gorebridge, Scotland, a spokesman for the new restaurant and pub said in a release. Ann’s daughter, Heather, will serve as manager of the new restaurant, which will host its grand opening this Friday, May 12.

Ann’s mother owned the Willow Plate Café, which operated on the main street in Gorebridge, Scotland, a former mining village southeast of Edinburgh.

“The torch has been passed and the legacy continues now on the Main Street of Springboro,” the new establishment’s owners said in a release.

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The Highland Stag will seat approximately 95 inside and about 40 more on a patio. Initially, its hours will be Tuesday and Wednesday 4 p.m. to midnight, and Thurday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to midnight, and closed Monday.

The space previously held SG@75 Gastropub, formerly called the Soooo Good Bar & Grill. That pub closed in September 2016 after a three-and-a-half-year run.

The original concept of the newest restaurant to Springboro was to open a bar that had Celtic food, but the concept morphed into a restaurant with emphasis on preparing authentic family recipes.

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Brent Moore, of Moore and Associates, discovered the venue at 75 N. Main, Springboro and initiated the deal to launch the venture, owners said in a release.

“Every aspect of the interior has been well thought out to tell the story,” Heather MacKenzie said. Among those aspects: A 30-foot mural of the clan’s ancestral castle, the Eilean Donan, hangs on the wall of the dining room. And the original family crest logo and a print of the Monarch of Glen painting welcomes diners at the door with the inspiration behind the name, The Highland Stag.

The menu offers 25 items, all prepared from scratch, the founders said. Six of the recipes are 100 percent authentic, while the rest have been developed and perfected by Chef Consultant Drew Ballard to keep with traditional Celtic and Scottish influence. Chefs Josh Allen and Tony Kobes bring over 50 years of full-service restaurant experience to the staff.

The bar offers an extensive beer, wine and liquor list with an emphasis — naturally — on Scotch. The Stag will have more than 30 Scotches, and will offer 20 craft beers. Guinness, Harp, Bellhaven and Smithwicks will have dedicated taps, and 16 more taps will rotate, with a focus on Celtic and local craft brews. An extensive wine list also will be available.

Plans call for the restaurant to host special dinners; fund-raising events for local non-profit organizations; and wine-, beer-, and Scotch-tasting events.

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