Once upon a time ten years ago, when Downtown Disney was still known as Disney Springs, an Irish pub called Raglan Road opened its door for the very first time. The area around it has changed pretty significantly over the past decade, culminating with the recent Disney Spring name change. Meanwhile, Raglan Road has remained much the same, maintaining its menu of Irish favorites punctuated with bands and Irish dancers who offer lively entertainment while you dine. Chef Kevin Dundon’s authentic dishes bring people back again and again.
Here are 10 fun facts you might know about Raglan Road. To hear more this venerable restaurant, click the video accompanying this article, where co-owner Paul Nolan talks about the anniversary, the annual Great Irish Hooley celebration, and local sourcing.
1) Kevin Dundon is a celebrity chef who stars in his own popular PBS cooking series. He won Irish Dish of the Year for his Glazed Loin of Bacon with Colcannon Mash, a Raglan Road staple. He has published six cookbooks and has cooked for luminaries like Queen Elizabeth II, President George Bush and Bono.
2) Corned beef and cabbage isn’t on the menu at Raglan Road. It’s a New York dish, not an Irish one, so it doesn’t fit in with the restaurant’s authentic cuisine.
3) The three founders and owners of Raglan Road – Paul Nolan, John Cooke and Kevin Dundon – have commuted a combined total of nearly two million miles to and from Ireland to Orlando over the past decade. That’s equal to about 78 circumnavigations of Earth at its equator or eight trips to the moon.
4) Nolan, Cooke and Dundon each engage in secret (until now) pastimes: Nolan is the pub “tweeter” whose musings can can be found at @RaglanRoadPub. Cooke is a bass guitar geek, and Dundon sneaks over to the Kentucky Fried Chicken drive-through when he thinks no one is watching.·
5) Raglan Road sells more Guinness than any other pub in the United States. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nine Fine Irishmen in Las Vegas, the previous pub owned by Raglan Road’s founders, sells the second greatest amount of Guinness.
6) Raglan Road uses 250 staff members to run its daily operations. The pub, with 500 seats inside and outdoors on its patio, serves the equivalent of half the number of Americans who travel to Ireland each year.
7) Quite fittingly, Raglan Road opened its doors 10 years ago on the birthday of Patrick Kavanagh, the Irish poet who wrote “On Raglan Road.” The poem became a song by Luke Kelly of The Dubliners and since has been sung by the likes of Sinead O’Conner, Van Morrison and U2.
8) The celebrated Raglan Road Irish Dancers perform on stage daily. They also tap on a platform that is an old Irish church pulpit located in the center of the Grand Dining Room. Take a look around next time you visit, as the cabinet displays in the pub’s Music Room include century-old items from Ireland including a period phonograph and a fiddle.
9) Want to be a “first” at Raglan Road? There is a Hidden Mickey that has never, to our knowledge, been discovered. Try finding it in a “grand” location. While you’re looking, don’t miss the signed portraits of Bono and other celebrities on the pub’s walls.
10) The official Raglan Road cookbook is called “I’d Ate the Back Door Buttered, Ma!” which translates to “I’m so hungry, I’d eat the back door if it were buttered, Ma!” The book features Dundon’s Raglan Road recipes and also the story behind the actual Raglan Road: “There is a ‘road’ to Raglan Road that crosses several continents and centuries – a journey involving brewers, publicans, singers, statues, gold rushes, a chef, a poet, yeast, several fishermen and an ex-priest. In short, our story is part of the larger Irish story of misfortune, emigration, hard work, ingenuity and eventual success outside mother Ireland.”