“Parade day has been very good to us over the years,” says Buckley’s Inn Between co-owner Mark Shortall, his brogue subtle but still detectable. “It’s something to see.”
The parade the Eire-born Shortall is speaking of is, of course, the 17th annual Hampton Bays St. Patrick’s Day Parade, happening this Saturday, March 18th at 11 AM. And it’s a popular one. The parade attracts thousands of spectators each year and features an array of entertainment from pipe bands and school marching bands to community organizations, business floats, fire departments and a multitude of other parade particulars.
Shortall, who moved here from Dublin in 1990, opened the popular Irish pub and family restaurant in 2003. And of course, he’s often asked by his patrons about Irish fare and the dish most Americans associate with St. Pat’s Day: Corned beef and cabbage. But you may well be surprised by his answer.
“Being from Ireland, people assume I must love corned beef and cabbage” he recounts, “and I break the news that it’s not traditionally an Irish dish!”
The slowly braised dish that’s become inextricably linked to the holiday was more likely a discovery of Irish immigrants after they landed in America. They picked up on brisket from their European Jewish immigrant compatriots, a clever, inexpensive cut of meat, that made for an affordable, abundant and hearty meal.
Still, Shortall and his executive chef and business partner, Paul Fitzpatrick, offer a straight-up version of the dish, along with a popular riff. “We make an Irish ‘spring roll’ with shredded corned beef, cabbage, mashed potatoes and pastry filo served with Coleman’s English mustard, the equivalent of European wasabi,” he says. “It’s good stuff.”
Staple offerings such as shepherd’s pie are also on Buckley’s menu, though slightly adjusted to American expectation by opting for a beef-based version—technically called cottage pie (“People get skittish about lamb,” says Shortall).
One dish that remains true to its Emerald Isle roots is the Buckley’s rich and robust chicken pot pie, topped with a buttery, flaky puff-pastry crust.
“Out of all our traditional Irish dishes, many regulars say this is their favorite,” says Shortall.
And we agree, filled with savory chicken, peas and carrots in a velvety sauce, it’s especially comforting on a brisk March day.
Entertaining post-parade at home? Shortall was kind enough to share the Buckley’s Inn Between recipe. Pro tip: For a big crowd, try making individual potpies in large ramekins. On a lightly floured board, roll puff pastry into a 12-inch square. Cut into quarters and lay on top of prepared dishes. Make a slit in the center of each piece of pastry. Garnish with thyme leaves for a touch of green. And don’t forget the glass of Guinness. Sláinte!
Buckley’s Inn Between Chicken Pot Pie
- 1 3 to 3 1/2 lb whole chicken, cooked, meat picked and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup flour
- 1 sheet puff pastry dough (available in the freezer section of most markets)
- 1 egg, beaten
- salt and pepper, to taste