NEW OWNERS FOR MURRAY MACGREGOR’S

kathy-maguire-1Kathy Maguire takes a breather on day one as owner of the Rumson bar and restaurant. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

machgregors-1Word about the sale had leaked out, so when Kathy Maguire showed up for work on her first day as owner of Murray MacGregor’s Publik House in Rumson Thursday, she was all but beseiged with vendors pitching beer, food and more.

Also on her doorstep: a nosy reporter from redbankgreen.

Among our first questions: um, what’s a 44-year-old married mother of five who coaches JV and varsity field hockey at St. John Vianney in Holmdel doing taking on management of a booming business in an industry she hasn’t worked in for years? Is she nuts?

We’re not the first to ask, Maguire tells us with a laugh.

“I like a challenge, and I just wanted to do something other than a nine-to-five job,” she said.

Maguire and her husband, Michael, also 44, moved to Hazlet four years ago from Manhattan. They’d both worked in restaurants in the past, but never as owners. He’s now in the medical education industry. Their children are in first grade through freshman year of high school, all in Red Bank.

With her kids all in school, Kathy was looking to buy a business she could run. But it had to be just the right business: one where she could be surrounded by her kids and feel like they were at home, she said.

“We looked at every restaurant for sale in Monmouth County,” she said, with a roll of her eyes. But the instant she walked into MacGregor’s, she was smitten, she said.

“I said, ‘I can see myself here, and my kids,'” she recalled.

“It was a perfect fit for our family,” she said. “This is a perfect neighborhood in a perfect town, and it had to be just right for me.”

The Maguires closed on the acquisition of the East River Road establishment Wednesday. Maguire confirmed that the sale price was in the vicinity of $1.85 million. Sellers Tim & Matt Harmon, who transformed the former Briody’s into MacGregor’s in 2008 and own 507 Main and Boathouse Bar & Grill, both in Belmar, couldn’t be reached immediately for comment.

Maguire says she has no plans for major changes, and wants to develop the business as a “neighborhood” place, that local sports teams, clubs and other groups consider “their” place.