By Carol McCracken
Taking a short break from a recent busy Sunday afternoon was the chef at the popular Irish Pub, Brian Boru. Brian Clark has been the chef there since December of 2007 and by all accounts it’s a perfect fit. And so was the outstanding potato and leak soup that MHN had been enjoying while waiting for Brian to free himself from his responsibilities in the kitchen at the Irish pub – it’s located near the Cumberland County Civic Center on the other end of Portland.
Brian is originally from Philadelphia. Several years ago he and his then girlfriend, Jessica, drove up this way to visit several times. After seeing Portland they decided they’d like to live here. So, they came. Brian started work at the pub in December of 2007 and now works six days a week there. Since his arrival, he has also taken over running the kitchen. One of the three owners of the pub, Laurence Kelly, said of Brian: “He’s so diligent and presents the food well. He’s a perfect employee.”
Brian’s favorite food is “old style country food” – which is a match for the warm and fun environment of the casual pub. He’s a self taught chef. When he was growing up in Philly, both of his parents worked outside the home. So, his mother would often allow Brian and his older brother to take over some of the cooking responsibilities for the family. His brother is a chef in the Philly area as well.
Brian and Jessica are now man and wife. She works at the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook. Brian is clearly focused and loves what he does. After his shift is over at 3:00 p.m. last Sunday, he’s out of the kitchen and circulating among some of the guests at Brian Boru. He’s a big guy and soft spoken with a good sense of humor. Perhaps someday he’ll own his own restaurant with Jessica working with him in it. But for now he’s clearly happy and so are the customers and owners at Brian Boru.
It’s the distinctive deep red building with black trim located at 57 Center Street. The building has a colorful history of its own, according to Kelly, one of the owners. But that’s a different story altogether!
By the way the potato and leek soup was so good it was worth bringing an order or two home and going back to the source for some refills in the future…