Charm, family and tradition has kept Donovan's Pub in Queens a favorite with locals since 1966, especially when it comes to their shepherd's pies. Liza de Guia of Chow.com filed the following report.
We’re venturing into Queens this week to visit a local watering hole that’s been making traditional Irish-American fare for the past 46 years: Donovan’s Pub in Woodside. A place I’d recommend for a pretty darn good shepherd’s pie.
You’ll find it hidden under the screaming Number 7 train tracks on Roosevelt Avenue, seeming so out of place, you can’t miss it. But, inside, it’s exactly what you’d expect an old Irish pub to look like: Worn dark wood, stained glass windows, fireplaces and a pull-up-a-chair kinda bar in a warm cottage-like environment.
It’s run by Joe and Jack Donovan, two brothers who really wanted the place to feel like back home in Ireland - complete with a purely Irish waitstaff who knows how to pour a perfect pint of Guinness.
The shepherd’s pie here is traditional, but made with beef instead of lamb. According to Jack, beef is just more “American”. What makes it special is a number of things. They add pieces of shell steak into their custom-blended beef to give it more flavor. Plus, the gravy they use is an old Donovan family recipe made from a homemade beef stock, onions and plenty of spices.
To start, they fill a large serving pan with a layer of seasoned ground beef and homemade gravy. Then, top that off with two heaping scoops of buttery mashed potatoes. From there, it goes into the broiler to brown and crisp. Once it’s done, they add a nice portion of sweet peas and fire-roasted carrots, then send it to your table with a complimentary bottle of Irish steak sauce.
And when you dig in, you’ll find fluffy potatoes, peppery, oniony sauteed beef, peas that pop in your mouth and enough gravy to keep the dish nice and moist. It’s so hearty and filling, most people take half of it home. My advice is to pair it with a fresh Guinness and spend some time chatting it up with the locals.
Donovan’s Pub is located at 5724 Roosevelt Avenue at the corner of 58th Street in Queens.
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