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The Dish: Angry Mussels from Park Tavern

Apr 10, 2015 11:53AM ● Published by Cate Reynolds

Park Tavern
580 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park
410-793-5930 • parktavernsp.com

Article and Photography by Rita Calvert   

The “new American-style” Park Tavern is owned by Donald Kelly and Justin Dvorkin—also owners and operators of Oliver Breweries, Pratt Street Ale House, and The Ale House in Columbia—have made a commitment to listen to their Severna Park customers’ preferences. After all, their tagline is “Reinventing the Neighborhood Tavern,” as they continually redefine their opening menu. In the spot which was originally Woodfire Grill, the new owners want their guests to enjoy an optimal friendly and casual dining experience, ideal for the business crowd, couples, singles, and families—something for everyone.

Gregory Keating, managing partner, shares the Park Tavern’s philosophy with us and passes along the enthusiastically received Angry Mussels recipe.

With the proliferation of pubs and sports bars in our area, how does Park Tavern plan to compete? To make the experience different?

We have a casual chic design which is upscale, yet relaxing. Our concept is a unique twist on a neighborhood eatery. Our decor with subway tiles, a chalkboard filled with local interest, reclaimed wood elements, and wide windows for plenty of light, shows our attention to detail.

Even though we have large-screen TVs we don’t focus on a sports bar ambiance. Everyone enjoys the televisions and we might have a guest’s station playing. We do have our own Oliver brewery and our ale is a draw, but then we also carry a huge assortment of craft beers. Wine is a big seller and we offer full bottles (half- price on Tuesdays), half-carafes, and wine by the glass.

Our focus on our approachable New American food and menu is huge and we constantly re-evaluate to offer the best. With our new menus, we will be offering a separate lunch and dinner menu. Lunch folks may want smaller portions or more casual fare. Dinner will still have the favorites like our burger and flatbreads, but also highlight some entrees like our heritage Berkshire brined pork chop with a wholegrain mustard sauce. We’ll also be rolling out our summer menu May 18th.

What is the process for Park Tavern to develop a new menu or additions and recipes?

Our process to develop items for the menu and the entire menu is a team effort amongst the owners, managers, and our chef, Matthew Sheppard. We work side-by-side to first target new (or classic) interesting recipes. Chef Matthew then prepares them for our tasting. After we refine, we bring in some of our qualified tasters to get their vote. Some dishes that are a big hit in one of our other properties might find its way to the Park Tavern menu. We plan to keep the food fresh and updated by changing it with the seasons.

What are your customers letting you know they want to see on the menu? 

Our guests want value for the dollar in service, quality of food, and portions. They also want gluten-free offerings, which we have focused on from the start. We are working on a new menu with some lighter options such as five new salads and two new tofu dishes. Tofu Ban Mi is a very successful dish in our Columbia Ale House, so we decided to offer it in Severna Park. People want the regular favorites like our best-selling hand-formed burger, or hand-formed meatballs, and our very successful flatbreads. We have a good relationship with the local Maple Lawn Turkey Farm and will feature dishes with their turkey. They also want some seafood and we intend to stay who we are in that area and keep those offerings very fresh. We bring in only fresh seafood and cut all fish by hand daily.

We call our customers, our guests, and by frequenting our 1/2 Price Bottles Wine Tuesdays, they show us they love that special. Our Build Your Own Burger Night is also a huge success and gives a big bonus in value for the dollar. Our brunches on both Saturday and Sunday have gained popularity with our bottomless Bloody Mary, Mimosa, and Bellini. The specialty drink bar is set up with all kinds of additions and garnishes. Folks love that, but the real draw is not the toppings but the endless bottom!

ANGRY MUSSELS RECIPE

Ingredients | Serves One
  • 1 pound Prince Edward Island Mussels
  • 2 ounces thick cut applewood smoked bacon
  • 3 tablespoons onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, minced

Directions

Place a large sauté pan over a medium high heat to warm up. Once the pan is hot add the bacon and onion stirring for 1 to 2 minutes. Once the onion is translucent add the garlic and jalapeno to the pan along with the mussels and toss to combine. Pour the wine in the pan along with the butter. Cook the mussels, shaking the pan to stir until all the mussels have opened and a sauce has formed in the pan. Add the lemon juice and parsley to the pan, tossing to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately with toasted bread for dipping.
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