Beyond Pub Grub at Meehan’s Public House

Who would have thought that one of the top peach cobblers in Atlanta would be at an Irish pub?

A lot about Meehan’s Public House may be surprising for first time diners.  More than just a spot for pub grub in downtown, Meehan’s serves gourmet fare with a local and organic focus.

Though it is tempting to fast forward to the excellent dessert, let me start at the beginning.  I was recently invited to dine at Meehan’s Public House for a taste of the restaurant’s new and signature dishes.

The interior of Meehan’s is like many Irish pubs — dark and intimate with wooden booths that line the narrow space.  The menu too includes traditional Irish fare.  But after a few bites (or maybe even sooner), you’ll realize, thanks in part to its executive chef, Meehan’s is much more than your typical Irish pub.

Executive Chef Jordan Wakefield incorporates his own southern cooking traditions in Meehan’s menu.  Chef Wakefield grew up in Georgia and is no stranger to Atlanta’s food scene, having worked at Food 101 and Spice Market.  Like a number of Atlanta chefs, Wakefield is passionate about the local foods movement.  At Meehan’s he creates Irish and gastropub favorites using ingredients from Georgia farms.

My meal started with a taste of Meehan’s popular dishes.  The Guinness Battered Fish and Chips were instantly a hit, with just the right amount of crispy skin surrounding the flaky fish.  The 101 Meatloaf also was a winner, with its savory mix of bison meat, ground beef and sausage.  Rounding out the first course, the homemade soft pretzel with a cheese sauce was a great snack with a beer, and the Ahi tuna tostadas had a nice spicy kick.

Next came the Organic Kale Salad, served with Applewood bacon, roasted golden beets, Asiago cheese and avocado.  Chef Wakefield kept it simple, serving the kale raw in a tangy vinaigrette.

The main event was the “Shake-n-Bake,” a giant pork chop from Niman Ranch that was breaded and lightly fried.  It came topped with a wild mushroom gravy and sides of Parmesan mac and cheese and locally grown Swiss chard.  It was clear to see why Chef Wakefield chose to feature this dish — it was outstanding.  The pork was cooked perfectly; the moist meat was enhanced by the wonderfully crunchy outside.  I don’t often order pork at restaurants but this dish is worth a special trip.  The mac and cheese was rich and creamy, and the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA was an excellent choice to wash it all down.

Then came dessert: the Georgia Peach Cobbler.  Locally grown peaches were served over a sweet biscuit with a scoop of High Road Craft caramelized peach ice cream.  Just the aromas of vanilla and cinnamon made my mouth water.  Sweet and savory, warm with the cooling sensation of the ice cream, this dessert added an exclamation point to the end of the meal.  Though I was full going into the course, I had to resist licking the bowl.

Perhaps odd at an Irish pub, I didn’t have a single Irish beer over the course of the evening.  For Chef Wakefield, the idea of eating local applies to breweries too.  Rather than pair the cobbler with a pint of Guinness, Chef Wakefield served us a Chocolate Milk Stout from Terrapin, the Athens, Georgia brewery.

Guinness fans needn’t fret.  Meehan’s has the Irish stout on tap and, according to a Yelp review, pours the best pint in town.  Meehan’s also hosts monthly beer dinners (details can be found on their website).

The owner of Meehan’s Public House plans to open two new locations of the restaurant: one near Emory and one in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Whether you’re in the mood for a beer and snack after work, or want to take that special someone on a date, you can enjoy both at Meehan’s Public House in downtown Atlanta.

Meehan’s Public House, 180 Peachtree Street, Atlanta 30303
(404) 214-9821

image of restaurant’s exterior from Meehan’s Facebook page