Get 'comfort'able at Donovan's Pub

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD Sometimes you just want the basics. Sometimes you crave the basics. And sometimes the basics are more than just that.

That's the case at Donovan's Irish Pub where comfort food is definitely a notch above the expected.

Since 2000, Michael Donovan and his staff at Donovan's Irish Pub at Eastfield Mall have carved out a unique niche: a place that features an Irish pub setting and atmosphere, but is definitely family friendly.

Open for both lunch and dinner, Donovan's also features something you can't get elsewhere in the valley a real Irish breakfast served every Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon. It features sausage and bacon imported from Ireland as well as black and white pudding, which are vital components of a standard Irish breakfast.

And you can have your breakfast or lunch or dinner on the restaurant's patio if you like.

Donovan's is also a great venue for live music. Donovan explained that the Healy's have been appearing every Friday night for the past eight years and Saturday is the night for other Irish groups such as The Bards. On Thursdays, Donovan said he tries to book a variety of musical groups Floyd Patterson is a repeat performer with soft rock.

Donovan's features some seasonal menu changes with corned beef and cabbage featured every Thursday during colder weather and steamers featured in the summer. Donovan admitted with a laugh that he only eats corned beef and cabbage once a year, but he said that people have told him it's among the best they've had.

Donovan is also proud of his Irish beers on tap and his wide assortment of Irish whiskeys.

The Donovan's menu features a wide variety of appetizers ranging from freshly made onion rings ($5.95) to mushroom crowns ($6.95) to the Celtic Combo Platter ($11.95) that features chicken fingers, fried cheese, fried mushrooms, potato skins, onion rings and French fries.).

We chose the potato skins ($5.95), which were loaded with cheese and bacon and serve their purpose of making us hungry for more.

And more is what we had.

Donovan's has a soup of the day as well as a variety of salads, but both of us were in the mood for something heartier. My wife looked at the sandwiches and found they offered a tri-level grilled cheese ($6.95) as well as the chicken stripper ($7.95), but chose the Springfield Special ($7.95) a choice of hot or sweet Italian sausage with saut ed onions and peppers, mozzarella cheese and a zesty marinara sauce.

My wife loves hot Italian sausage and was very pleased with the spicy sandwich served with a generous portion of pub fries.

I looked at the entr es and had choices such as fried scallops ($12.95) and eight-ounce sirloin steak ($10.95) and the Guinness beef stew ($8.95). Being in an Irish pub, though, I had to try the fish and chips ($9.95) and it was a great choice. The fish was perfectly fried and delicious and came with pub fries and cole slaw.

Could we manage a dessert? Well, not two selections, but we decided to share the Bailey's Irish Cr me Bash Pie ($4.95), a cheesecake that married the flavor of Bailey's with chocolate. We barely resisted licking the plate.

Donovan's is a great place and my wife and I will return soon for the Irish breakfast.