The Red Leprechaun’s motto has always been “No strangers here, only friends we haven’t met.”

But there’s little time left now to make new friends at the Irish pub on East Anaheim Street in the Zaferia district — owner and founder Tracy Ames told The Grunion Gazette this week that she’s decided to sell her business. The Red Leprechaun will close sometime before the end of this year.

“I’m just ready,” Ames, 56, said. “I’m ready for a change.”

Besides running her restaurant for the past seven years, Ames has served as president of the Zaferia Business Association (ZBA) for half a decade and has been busy in that role, too, while also acting as a caretaker for a parent. Following the recent passing of her 94-year-old mother, Ames said the timing seems right for her to take a needed break and travel to Ireland.

“My mom was 94 and had a fantastic life… I’m super proud of what I accomplished here at The Red Leprechaun … and I’m super proud of how the business alliance has been able to redefine the Zaferia area,” Ames said.

She wasn’t sure what new restaurant concept might take over, but Ames said she believes the neighborhood is craving something fresh. She could only say that the anonymous new owners coming in are a local family with other businesses in town.

“There’s going to be something new here in 2020,” she promised.

As for her own next adventures, the Rose Park resident said she plans to travel to Ireland, where her family is originally from, and then she might one day continue The Red Leprechaun as a catering business. She does not anticipate opening any other restaurants.

For now, she said there’s still a little bit of time for her beloved regular customers to stop for a beer at the 110-year-old wooden saloon and a final bite of corned beef and cabbage (her own recipe).

Zaferia Executive Director Kristine Hammond wished Ames well and said the business association as a whole has much to thank her for. She emphasized that Ames was a dedicated volunteer, always taking notes and attending meetings and being an active voice and advocate for the area to get ZBA on the map.

The Red Leprechaun is at 4000 E. Anaheim St. For details, call 562-343-5560 or visit

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story stated that the owner gave up her lease. That is incorrect. The restaurant was sold.

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