Two of downtown Barrington’s hottest restaurants, McGonigal’s Pub and the Park Avenue Restaurant and Wine Bar, share a secret ingredient. He’s the man behind the menus, Executive Chef Ted Stay, and you’ll find him working overtime, crafting culinary treasures in the kitchen that create raving fans on both restaurant floors.
This dedicated and innovative chef manages to run the kitchen for the two vastly different, but equally popular downtown Barrington fixtures simultaneously. Visit the shared kitchen and you might, like we did, see McGonigals serving up their Soft Pretzels and Beer Cheese or, pub favorite, Fish and Chips…
…while, down the line, delicately dehydrating blood oranges and perfectly preserved kumquats prepare to top elegant Park Avenue fare.
There is art going on in this kitchen, but at the same time, it’s accessible… just like Chef Ted. The dichotomy is practically a perfect representation of Barrington, as we tend to appreciate the finer things in life as well as good quality standards. This is evidenced in the fact that both restaurants continue to thrive. And Chef Ted does not take his audience for granted. “Our customers expect great things. But in return they embrace our efforts. It’s a great tradeoff.” Chef Ted has spent many years in the kitchen, falling into a career that he says found him first. “It was something I was just good at.” And who wouldn’t agree? Hailing from nearby Ingleside with his wife and 3 young children, Chef Ted lives and breathes his work, believing wholeheartedly in the food he delivers and the restaurants he works for.
He shares his wealth of food knowledge both in his kitchen, and beyond. You can see the respect of his employees in their eyes and their smiles when they both greet him and receive his guidance. And he also lends his expertise, teaching courses at the culinary program at the College of Lake County.
Chef Ted continues to give Barrington everything we long for and deserve on our restaurant scene. Consistency and reliability of one of the best fish fry’s in town, an incredible Reuben sandwich, the best pub fries you ever ate and pretzels with pub cheese that make you want to lick the bowl clean at McGonigal’s Pub.
And you’ll savor elegant and unique menu options compatible with any fusion food restaurant on Chicago’s top lists at Park Avenue Wine Bar, like their popular Ahi Tuna with Soba Noodle Crust, Chili Spinach and Ginger Carrot Puree.
While the Park Avenue menu changes monthly, standard favorites such as the Mussels Pomadore and the Filet hold firm. Treat yourself to Chef Ted’s creations at one of these great venues today. For a closer look at McGonigal’s Pub and Park Avenue Restaurant menus, click HERE and HERE. For more information about each restaurant and to make reservations, visit McGonigalsPub.com and ParkAvenueWineBar.com.
Kelly Donlea is a Barrington mom, chef, cookbook author the owner of Organizing Dinner, a company that brings sensible cooking solutions to busy people. She has published several cookbooks and one of her specialties is helping parents plan family meals with fewer trips to the grocery store. Kelly also offers cooking classes and demonstrations in your home or public facility. To learn more about Kelly, her recipes and her services, you’ll find her Facebook page by clicking HERE and her website at OrganizingDinner.com. Kelly is going to be sharing recipes, cooking tips and special features about chefs and popular menu items at area restaurants right here at 365Barrington.com.
Please join us as we discover local culinary treasures and new kitchen classics in our new, local and regular food feature here at 365Barrington.com called “Barrington Eats” with Kelly Donlea!
If you’d like to us to feature you favorite chef or restaurant, make a quick stop at the 365 Barrington Suggestion Box and leave us a note in the form which you’ll find by clicking HERE.