There is a shift happening at Bobby O’Brien’s. With the help of new Head Chef, Doug Todd, the downtown Irish pub is turning toward fresh and homemade meals. From garlic mayonnaise to in-house smoked bacon, pub fare is being infused with the goodness of whole food. What isn’t changing is the bang for your buck and the friendly service.
Bobby O’Brien’s is a fixture on MacDonnell St. and is known for their wings, daily specials, and proximity to the Sleeman Centre. They are hoping to soon be known for their menu as well. “Eighty percent of what we serve is made by us,” Doug states as he goes on to talk about the menu.
Doug’s face lights up as he describes the process of making the in-house smoked bacon. To make the bacon, Doug starts with pork belly, which is brined for seven days to bring out the natural sugar and add saltiness to the meat. The bacon is then smoked for six hours to fill out the flavour profile. The end result: delicious bacon to accompany handmade burgers like the Blue Cheese Burger or the Spicy Cajun.
You won’t find bacon on the chickpea and quinoa veggie burger, but the pesto mayo packs a big flavour punch all on its own. Bobby’s burgers have no gluten and the pub also offers gluten-free buns. “Substitutions for people with food sensitivities are relatively easy because we make so much here.”
Doug brings leadership and experience to the kitchen at Bobby’s. He started cooking at the age of sixteen and went on to earn an education from Liason College and a diploma in Culinary Management from Niagara College. Doug came to Bobby’s and established a sense of direction for the kitchen staff. When needed he can step back and strategize – an incredibly useful skill in the middle of a busy night in the kitchen.
Teamwork is a big theme at Bobby’s. Whether it’s in the kitchen or the front of house, both Doug and manager Caroline Early work to establish a supportive and
fun culture where everyone pulls together. “We are all really buddy-buddy, helping each other out, whether it’s at work or in our personal lives,” Doug notes.
Bobby’s daily specials offer incredible value, especially when it comes to their wings. With twenty-three different flavours conveniently arranged in order from mildest to hottest, there is a wing for everyone. And there is a tradition of ordering custom wings as well. “People really like to custom mix the sauces. Garlic Parmesan with Franks or Dublin are really popular combinations,” Caroline explains with enthusiasm.
Whether it’s wings, bacon, or sandwiches made with hummus, roasted vegetables, feta and pea shoots (lovingly referred to as “The Healthy One”), Bobby’s is offering food that is sure to make a lot of happy customers.
And Doug’s favourite dish to cook? At home, it’s Lamb Vindaloo. “I’m really into East Indian Cuisine. We do a really nice Butter Chicken here at Bobby’s.” But what Doug enjoys most is the satisfaction of working with his team to put out good food – food that will delight the taste buds and keep people coming back for more.