Raglan Road Restaurant and Pub is a bona fide slice of Ireland, inside the magical gates of Disney World, no less. Markedly, it is the first authentic Irish pub in America owned, designed, and managed entirely by Irish people.
The website jokes: “So, you’re minding your own business, when you happen upon a most appealing building. You wander inside and instantly find yourself smack in the middle of Dublin.
‘What’s this?’ you ask, ‘A rift in the bleedin’ space-time continuum?’
“Don’t be silly; it’s just that our front door is 4,052 miles thick. Welcome to Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant. Welcome to Ireland.”
“In many respects, we wanted to create an even purer pub, a real Dublin pub,” says John Cooke, co-owner. “Ragland would look and feel like a Dublin Victorian pub that had been lifted off the streets of Dublin and placed in the middle of Walt Disney World.”
The kitchen is helmed by Kevin Dundon, beloved Irish chef, prolific cookbook author, and media personality. Raglan Road continually garners dining awards such as Open Table’s Diners Choice Awards in 2015 and 2016, and a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor for its food, entertainment, and all around atmosphere.
Dundon, who also owns and operates a small luxury hotel, The Dunbrody Country House Hotel, with his wife on Ireland’s south coast, recently released his newest cookbook titled The Raglan Road Cookbook: Inside America's Favorite Irish Pub in honor of the American endeavor.
In the book, the “road” to Raglan’s inception is interwoven through and around Dundon’s favorite recipes detailing how the owners came to be working together.
As far as the recipes themselves, Dundon does not disappoint. He emphasizes hearty and comforting dishes that are meant to be conveniently replicated at home. This is made easier due to an inherent characteristic of the cuisine itself: Irish food is direct. Ingredients list are kept straightforward and, for the most part, uncomplicated because, as the cookbook mentions, “Irish food speaks for itself.”
Traditional Irish recipes like Tomato and Gin Soup, Beef Curry Pie, Stuffed Chicken With Roasted Root Vegetables, Beef and Irish Stout Stew, and Traditional Irish Bread and Butter Pudding all make appearances in Raglan Road and are featured here on The Daily Meal, too.
The Daily Meal also had the opportunity to talk with Dundon to learn more about his new release. Keep reading below for the interview:
The Daily Meal: What is your philosophy of cooking?
Kevin Dundon: Something I believe in strongly is eating seasonal, locally sourced produce as much as possible. This ethos not only reflects what we eat at home as a family but also in our restaurant here at Dunbrody, and, of course, at Raglan Road. Whilst our ancestors may have had no choice but to eat seasonal food, we, on the other hand, can make informed decisions on what we eat, and what we cook.
How did it inspire the recipes you chose to include in this book?
The recipes in this book are perfect for the family table, using seasonal ingredients and recipes for every meal from breads, soups, appetizers, mains and, of course, mouthwatering family desserts, all with some charming anecdotes and snapshots of my Irish life.
What is your favorite recipe in the book and why?
Roast chicken is my favourite [sic], it is also a family favourite. It’s so versatile and, of course, it makes the perfect Sunday lunch. Try adding some lemon or garlic to the basting butter for the most wonderful aromas and flavor. I love a chicken sandwich that uses leftover slices of chicken sandwiched between two slices of sourdough bread with sliced tomatoes, spring onions, cucumber, relish and a dollop of mayo — yum!
How do you hope readers will use this book? What do you hope they take away?
Every cookbook tells a story, this one more than most! The recipes are family favourites, and this is a go-to cookbook with seasonal recipes for the whole year round.