It’s been nearly a decade since Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant opened its doors at Orlando’s Downtown Disney. And as the 2015 Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival approaches, Sales and Marketing Manager Lorraine Gorham is both cheery and reflective.
“It’s a pretty big feat,” she says of Raglan’s birthday. “We arrived 10 years ago into Pleasure Island, unpacked our containers, set up our pub and then they closed down Pleasure Island!”
Not only did the eatery – which serves live entertainment daily alongside pub favorites and leveled-up fare far “foodier” than you might expect – persevere, but it has even thrived.
Champion Cheese platters – this one a gooey, garlicky melted brie – are among the new additions at Raglan Road — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
Staffers say even the formidable construction of the Disney Springs overhaul hasn’t much affected the venue’s workings.
“It’s a new challenge,” says Gorham, “But what we concentrate on here is making sure that every guest who comes through our door experiences the best that Irish hospitality has to offer.”
And the offerings are aplenty, as Raglan Road’s menu has grown, adding a colorful array of craft cocktails and new eats for lunch, brunch and dinner.
At the helm is Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon, whose feedback figures into all the changes. But it’s the in-house kitchen team’s imagination, combined with server recon and guest input, says Chef Heberto Segura, which helps shape the menu’s evolution.
The Cod Cornucopia is a pan-roasted filet served atop warm potato salad, with a spicy chorizo viniagrette — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
“We’re always talking to Kevin about what we’d like to do with specials,” Segura says. “Then we get creative and see how it goes.”
Dishes not only have to pass the guest test, but figure gracefully into the workflow of the kitchen.
“That’s when we decide if we’ll be able to add something new without removing anything from the menu," says Segura.
Fear not, regulars: This time around, no favorites were given the boot. It’s a full-on menu expansion.
Consult your cardiologist before savoring the Pork Hashtagged, a decadent new brunch item — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
We hardly expect the Guinness tap to rust with the addition of so many craft cocktails, but the new drinks will add refreshing options for guests as temps warm up. These include the Irish Honey Cup – a lemony concoction featuring Bushmills Irish Honey and Pimms – and the Smoking Margarita, which Irishes up the Mexican classic, adding a half-ounce of Connemara peated whiskey to its tequila base. A sugar-and-smoked paprika rim replaces the traditional salt.
Skip the straw, and engage your glass.
For folks less interested in the bar (and perhaps those looking to soak up what it’s serving), a brunch visit will garner you decadence in multiple forms, including braised pork belly, scallions and potato hash topped with – wait for it – a battered, deep-fried poached egg.
NY strip also makes this rollicking menu; be sure to savor the sage-green shallot puree served alongside.
Carnivorous couples will appreciate the Double Joint, a cowboy rib-eye for two — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
Lovers of Raglan’s Proud Pork of the past will delight in its return. The grilled chop is served with colcannon potatoes, applesauce and a tangy cider port jus. Raisins add a plump, sweet touch.
Carnivores will kvell in pairs over the 28-ounce Double Joint, a bone-in rib-eye for two paired with Béarnaise and red wine jus and served with duck fat chips, roasted veggies and a green salad.
Brunch guests will enjoy complimentary Suave Smoothie sample shots — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
All of this and more will be on the menu during the Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival, which runs this year from Friday, March 13, through Tuesday, March 17, 2015. As is the norm, the fun will be running near nonstop, with live music from the pub’s house bands, along with musical guests including the Brayzen Heads, Drops of Green and the West Coast Trio.
There will be complimentary face painting for the wee ones and regular performances by Raglan’s troupe of champion Irish dancers. Note: Seating will be first-come, first-served, with a $10 cover on St. Patrick’s Day. Reservations are available for other festival days.
This year's Mighty St. Patrick's Day Festival runs March 13 to March 17, 2015 — Photo courtesy of Gene Duncan / Disney