Would that all great old time divey bars could woo a couple of high-caliber chefs to dig into the kitchen.
Half Time Rec is the family-owned Irish bar in St. Paul's Como neighborhood that's been around for decades. I remember well some early days of youth spent throwing bocce in the basement. And more than a few St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have been enjoyed on premisis.
But there’s never been a kitchen, until now. Josh Thoma and Kevin Fitzgerald of Smack Shack know a little something about kicking up bar food (as they did with the 1029 Bar, still replete with lobster rolls) and along with Jack Riebel, they’ve partnered with the Half Time Rec family to build out a brand new kitchen in the back and launch a menu of cheffy bar food. They’ve dubbed it: Paddy Shack at The Rec
Riebel wants to have the best fish ‘n’ chips in the metro, and is working hard to make it happen by next Monday, October 20 when the menu officially launches. An early sample proved he’s on the right track.
There was seriously sturdy batter that stayed crisp without a whiff of oiliness, and chip wedges that were all fluff on the inside. And it was rightly sided by minted peas that were all butter and vibrancy.
There will be some Reuben poppers on the menu (as if Riebel could stay away from those). The pepper is stuffed with corned beef, cheese, and kraut, then fried in a rye batter.
The rye batter makes it.
Bar food is the name of the game, Riebel pointed out that they’ll be using great ingredients and doing scratch cooking, but keeping it real instead of real fancy. If you wan to hear him wax on about Irish food and all the cool things he's learned, you can take a listen to the podcast of 10/4 Weekly Dish when he was on. Following is some of the menu they’re working on this week, just to give you an idea of what’s to come:
Guinness Cheese Toast
Rye Bread with Guinness Cheese Spread
Parsley & Garlic Chips
Green Chili and Cheese Chips
Corned Beef & Cheddar Chips
Half Time Burger (Beef burger, rye bread, chopped romaine, white onion, pickled green tomato, Paddy Shack sauce, horseradish & chive havarti)
Corned Beef Sandwich
Dublin Lawyer Roll
Famous Hormel Dome Dog wrapped in bacon, house relish, pickled green tomato, romaine lettuce, pickled jalapeño, mustard & mayo
County Cork Dog
Beef hot dog wrapped in bacon, beer cheese sauce, macaroni, serrano pesto, mustard, popcorn
Plates & Pies
Bangers & Mash
Beer Cheese Macaroni
Champ - red bliss, kerrygold butter, green onion/chive
Brown Bread with Kerrygold butter