Talking about Culhane's Irish Pub with owner Mary Jane

February 22, 2014 2 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Gerry Glynn of interviews owner Mary Jane Culhane.

Celtic Wings. Slow baked then fried golden and tossed in Buffalo, Tiger or Whiskey glaze.

11. Are there any trends on your menu that you’re looking towards?

We currently serve very hearty and flavorful portions. We are famous for our comfort food.  There’s always a place for that but many people want options that are lighter and less filling. When people come with their friends they often want a taste of something to share - more like tapas. We will be adding more small plates, or skinny plates, as we call them. These will be served at a lower price point - more affordable. In addition to the smaller plates, we’re also going to add more varieties of fish. When people eat out they want options that are light but also nourishing at the same time. We currently have cod, salmon, shrimp and talapia on the menu and we will be adding more seasonal, fresh local fish.

Mahi Mahi stuffed crab and served with mashed potato, Cajun gravy and corn salsa

12. You had Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives visit Culhane's. Can you tell us about that experience?

It was fantastic. Business has doubled. Guy is a lot of fun and he brought national and international fame to Culhane's Irish Pub. We have re-aired numerous times with over 50,000 hits on our YouTube episode. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Our episode recently aired in Ireland and England and had huge write ups in the Irish Examiner and Weekly Observer.

Aine, Lynda, Guy Fieri, Mary Jane and Michelle

13. How was Culhane’s selected to be on the show?

We honestly don’t know. The Food Network goes online to check out area restaurants. They look for a story that’s appealing. We’re a locally owned pub, we have a strong online presence through Facebook and our website, and we have a lot of positive reviews online. Those things all helped us to stand out. A number of area restaurants were shortlisted and we had interviews with the production company. Before we knew for sure that we’d be on the show some people came in to review our kitchen to make sure everything was clean and all our health inspections were up to date. They also wanted to observe our cooking to make sure we were making everything from scratch and that it was authentic food. Then they announced our pub would be featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

14. How did you select the items that were highlighted on the show?

The Food Network reviewed our menu online and chose the items. Once they had an idea of what they wanted to feature, they came in for a tasting. During the filming they showcased a number of items that didn’t make the final edit that appeared on TV. For example, they showcased our Corned Beef and Cabbage, Bangers and Mash, Buffalo Wings and our Potato Leek Soup. Guy’s favorites were our Dingle Fish Pie, Lamb Sliders and Guinness Beef Stew, so these were the items that made it onto the show.

Guinness Beef Stew

15. Which of Guy’s favorites is the most popular item at Culhane’s?

Of the items featured on Triple-D, the Guinness Beef Stew is the most popular - and it’s always been one of our best sellers overall. The Lamb Sliders are very unique. Not everyone likes lamb, but for those who do, they love the Sliders. Dingle Fish Pie is a unique seafood cream stew made with cod, salmon and shrimp (recipe).  It’s popular and unique, and appeals to those who like all those types of fish. Growing up in Ireland we always had local fish shops we’d go to. We’d mix things up. We wanted something rich and savory that was like what we had growing up.

Dingle Fish Pie

16. How long did the filming take?

It was a full day with Guy, from about 10 in the morning through to 7 pm. Before Guy arrived though, the production crew came for about 3 days. They focused on filming in the kitchen. When Guy came the focus was with him hanging out with the sisters, staff and the crowd - it was more relaxed.

17. Guy Fieri has a recipe book called The Funky Finds in Flavortown that features Culhane’s for 6 full pages. How did that come about?

The Food Network called us up to say that Guy loved Culhane’s and our Guinness Beef Stew and he wanted to include us in his new cook book. They asked us to share the details of the Guinness Beef Stew recipe and to provide some pictures. We hired a photographer and sent them an album of photos to choose from. The editor added some background on the experience the production team had when they spent time at the pub. It was a great write up that was done entirely by The Food Network.

The Funky Finds in Flavortown by Guy Fieri

18. What is Culhane’s Spice Blend?

It’s a seasoning blend made up of roasted garlic salt, pepper, basil, and many other spices.   It’s all natural, without any MSG.

We sell our seasoning in house.  It’s great on everything and it gives our Lamb Sliders a unique taste!

19. If someone wanted to try a dish that highlighted Culhane’s Spice Blend, what would you recommend?

I’d recommend the French Fries. It adds a great flavor that really complements the subtler potato taste. The Lamb Sliders are another great option too.

Seasoned French Fries

20. What’s your number one selling beer?

It’s Guinness, by far.

21. Have you noticed an increased interest in craft beers and craft whiskeys?

Absolutely! We just added another 12 beers to our draft system, giving us 24 active taps. We carry the popular Irish and English beers, along with more and more craft beers. We’ve also seen a lot of interest in Irish and Scotch whiskeys, along with craft bourbons. That’s a definite new trend.

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