Interview with Les Bridger & Martin Troy
Managers of Jack Quinn’s Irish Pub
21 S. Tejon Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
If you want traditional Irish food in a fun environment, look no further than Jack Quinn’s Irish Pub in downtown Colorado Springs. A long-time local favorite, this bustling watering hole has an ever-rotating lineup of live music including a traditional Irish session where everyone is welcome to sing along.
We’ve been working with Jack Quinn’s since the beginning (2010!) and love being able to feature their authentic fare. We sat down with General Manager Les Bridger and Manager Martin Troy to get the scoop on their menu, history, and plans for the future.
How did you get started?
Les: Bill and Donna Sasz had taken a trip to Ireland and were inspired to recreate the look and feel of an old world pub.
Martin: Personally, I got started in the restaurant business in a local pub restaurant [in Dublin] on S. Patrick’s Day in 1980. Since then, I’ve worked every single St. Paddy’s (37 in all)!
What is the latest food trend that you find yourself following or inspired by?
Les: There’s a push toward antibiotic and hormone-free Colorado raised beef. Plus, I really like the new packaging for old recipes. An example is Rueben Fritters, which combine corned beef, cream cheese, and sauerkraut, all breaded with rye bread crumbs then deep fried and served with Mary Rose sauce and stout mustard. Another example is the “Mick Tacos,” which are made with a Boxty instead of a taco shell. Tasty!
Martin: My favorite latest food trend is Grubhub. We joined last year, and it has gone from strength to strength. They offer ease of ordering for the customer and another avenue of revenue for the business.
Are there any fun facts or secrets about the menu and/or how it was created?
Les: We took ideas from many sources and try to update the menu annually to reflect more modern food trends, like the Reuben Fritters and “Mick Taco’s.”
Martin: The menu was created by taking hearty pub food items from Irish menus and giving them a local twist. We use “never ever” beef (no antibiotics or hormones) from Aspen Ridge. The Boxty (my favorite) was originally the staple food of the absolute poor on the streets as potatoes and flour were all they could afford. The name Boxty comes from the Anglicized word for Poor House, Teach Bocht (Chock Buckt). This became shortened to Tigh Bockt (Tee Bocht) and eventually Bocht Tigh (Buckt Tee), or BoxTee as we say today!
What are your favorite menu items?
Les: Fish and Chips, Shepherds Pie, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Crab Cakes, and Irish Nachos…plus, we have a great burger!
Martin: My favorite menu items are the Guinness Beef Boxty, because it’s so rich and comforting, and the Fish n’ Chips, because it’s a real taste of what I miss about home and the local chipper (place that sells Fish n’ Chips).
What are some of your values as managers?
Les: We want to be surrounded by good people, create a fair and enjoyable work environment, and grow with our staff and guests.
Martin: Just be yourself on the floor. Let your staff know that you are there for them to help out and not just stand by. Communicate with EVERYBODY in the business and be honest and hardworking for the customers.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what food would that be?
Les: Whole Roasted Chicken with root vegetables and mashed potato.
Martin: My desert island food apart from the Quinn’s Guinness Beef Boxty (too obvious) would be my mother’s apple tart (pie). The smell and taste of that thing would drive you nuts!!!
What’s your favorite night at Jack Quinn’s?
Les: It’s hard to say; every night provides a different atmosphere. I personally like Wednesday nights. We usually have a great Americana or Folk band, people come in for dinner, and after 8pm we offer ½ off whiskey. Most people come to have a nice dinner and get introduced to a whiskey that would otherwise be unaffordable. We get to talk about whiskey and chat with our guests a little more. Sunday’s are also great. Irish session music from 3-6pm. Great atmosphere and kid friendly!
Martin: My favorite night at Quinn’s is Monday night. That’s our Geeks Who Drink trivia night. Such an eclectic crowd… great fun, and I am a real trivia nerd. Doesn’t mean I’m any good though, I just love it!!!
What’s your favorite aspect of your St. Patrick’s Day celebration?
Les: I like the overall feel and appreciation we get from our guests for being here and staying true to the traditional Irish pub feel.
Martin: My favorite part of our St. Patrick’s celebration is walking in the front door and getting a wall of, “Heeeey Martyyyyyyy!” from all the regulars who have queued up to be first in line for opening. Thank you all…you know who you are!!!
How would you define the culture of Jack Quinn’s?
Martin: The customers are a complete mix of all ages, backgrounds and what have you, but if I had to distill it down to one essential line to describe us, it would be: “A Little Slice of the Emerald Isle at the Foot of the Rocky Mountains.”
Jack Quinn’s just celebrated their 19th year…big plans for year 20?
Les: Yes, but I’ll never tell! There will be a big celebration, music, dancing, pipes and drums, dinner specials, and tons of CRAIC. [Editor’s note: craic is an Irish term for conversation, fun, and entertainment!]
If the previous years are any indication, year 20 is bound to be epic for Jack Quinn’s! We’ll note that one of our personal favorite menu items is the Irish Nachos (served on the food tour!), which is made with Yukon gold potatoes, potato chips, corned beef, green onions, cheese, and their Mary Rose sauce.
If you’d like to check out Jack Quinn’s like a VIP, join us on our Original Colorado Springs Food Tour.
Cheers, Your Rocky Mountain Food Tours Team