Val Domingo is the chef at Meehan’s, the Irish pub mini-empire of Atlanta. With locations in Vinings, Downtown, Sandy Springs and Atlantic Station, they’re strategically located within twenty minutes of my core real estate business. Not that its absolutely critical to always be within twenty minutes of a perfectly pulled pint of Guinness and a home made shepherd’s pie… but it’s always appreciated. A quick chat with Chef Val on pubs, Meehan’s and where he eats when he’s not working…
Q. What makes or breaks a pub?
A. What makes a pub: customer service-developing a relationship with your guests; food quality is excellent and unique; inviting atmosphere
What breaks a pub: negative, selfish atmosphere; poor food; average-below average customer service
Q. Hidden Atlanta gems?
A. Smoke Ring: great casual bbq in Castleberry neighborhood, Whistle Stop Cafe in Kennesaw: excellent down home breakfast/lunch spot.
Q. Make me hungry- what should I be eating if I’m at Meehan’s?
A. As far as appetizers, the devil’s on horseback, pub nachos, and the Ahi Tuna Tostadas are my favorites in that category. The Devil’s on Horseback are dates stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in apple wood bacon, fried and served on thinly sliced roasted golden beets and topped with a red wine reduction. It’s clearly like a dessert for an appetizer. The Ahi Tuna Tostadas has blackened ahi tuna shaved thin and served on top of a corn chip with avocado corn salsa, sriracha and cilantro sour cream. Perfect on warm, spring day!!! The Pub Nachos come with either chicken or short rib chili and is the perfect sharing appetizer for a group of friends.
In the sandwich category, the one sandwich that has clearly stood out is the Black and Tan Short Rib Sandwich. Basically, it’s short rib braised in Guinness and Smithwick’s for 12hrs, served with caramelized onions and roasted crimini mushrooms, Swiss cheese, and house made Guinness Mustard on marble rye. If you’re not in the mood for that, all of our burgers are Certified Angus Beef, and our lamb burger is 100% organic local lamb from White Oak Pastures. If you’re looking for a chicken sandwich, we serve a very popular Grilled Chicken BLT on toasted bolillo bread, with spicy mayo, smoked gouda cheese, and sliced avocado.
In terms of comfort food, our sheperd’s pie, bangers and mash, and our meatloaf, is the way to go. In the sheperd’s pie dish, we braise leg of lamb in Guinness and veal stock for 12 hours and hand pull the meat. It is served with veggies and a garlic mash potato jacket and topped with a red wine gravy that we make in house. Our bangers for the bangers and mash dish is locally made from a butcher shop that also makes our corned beef and ham, called Heywood’s Provisions in Marietta. It is a very savory and tasteful Irish Sausage that come with caramelized onions, mushrooms, peas, and red wine gravy. The meatloaf is very unique in that we incorporate 3 types of meat: CAB ground beef, Italian Sausage, and All Natural Bison, served with haricot verts, mash, and red wine gravy, you can’t go wrong with my version of this classic comfort food.
In addition to all these, we have some lighter/healthier options as well. The grilled veggie sandwich incorporates grilled zucchini, eggplant, roasted red peppers, grilled red onions and crimini mushrooms with goat cheese, pesto aioli, on multigrain bread. We also have a very popular sweet potato hummus that is served with lavash crackers, celery and carrots. And don’t forget our entree salads that we offer such as the Baby Kale salad with 3 onion vinaigrette, Blackened Chicken Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette, and the Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette.
Q. When you’re not in the kitchen, where are you eating in and around Atlanta?
A. Usually I don’t frequent many restaurants but when I do, depending on what my wife and I are hungry for, we usually go to Sam’s BBQ 1 in Marietta for lunch, Whistle Stop Cafe in Kennesaw for breakfast, and if we go out to dinner, we check out places like Thaicoon & Sushi in Marietta, or Taj Mahal Indian in Kennesaw.
Q. Why is Meehan’s awesome?
A. We are 110% equally dedicated to our guests and the food we prepare. The first thing that people think of an Irish pub is its alcohol first, then the average pub grub food. At Meehan’s, we are changing that stigma where our guests, whether you are a regular or first timer, have recognized our food as creative and quality driven as the alcohol choices we provide. This is due to the fact that we source as much local ingredients as possible and prepare everything from scratch. Furthermore, we have embraced the fact that having healthier food options on our menu is not a trend and are just as important as the comfort food that Irish pubs are known for. Coupled with a welcoming atmosphere where my service staff and managers develop a relationship with each of our guests, our goal is to consistently exceed our guests’ expectations every single day.