All in the Family
My two older brothers run a very popular restaurant in Gilford, New Hampshire, called Patrick’s Pub & Eatery. They have owned it for nearly a quarter century, and each year, I’ve watched them build relationships and exceed expectations in terms of new events and programs, and creative menu items.
Allan Beetle is the marketing guru behind Patrick’s. Last year, he outdid himself by turning one half of the restaurant into a tiki bar in the middle of winter, filling it with sand, live palm trees, and beach games.
Retired as a chef at Patrick’s, Jeff Beetle now serves as a prep cook who works alongside a very busy and dedicated team of professionals in the kitchen. His culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University and years of industry experience have guided him in creating Patrick’s Seafood Chowder and its Black Angus beef burgers, frequent award winners.
As the restaurant has built its excellent reputation over the years, I’ve also watched my brothers grow as compassionate community partners. They give in countless ways to organizations and individuals in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.
They sponsor occasional nightly events that benefit people in need, and they work year-round on fundraisers that support the Lakes Region Children’s Auction, a nonprofit that provides grants to local nonprofits that help meet children’s basic needs and provide services and initiatives that improve their lives. In the past nine years, Patrick’s has raised over $1.6 million for the Children’s Auction through an annual 24-hour bar-stool challenge called Pub Mania, which Allan oversees.
In 2006, Jeff and Allan were named Entrepreneurs of the Year in the Lakes Region.
The pride I have had for my brothers since I was old enough to walk is, at this point, fairly overwhelming. They are exceptional role models, in our family and in the community.
What a privilege it has been this fall to begin to have a small role in their family business.
Working mostly with my brother Allan, I have helped Patrick’s launch a blog, called the PubLog, in which we are writing about community partners, employees, and events such as Pub Mania and a fundraiser that supports it, called the Pub Mania Shuffle.
I have very much enjoyed meeting my brothers’ customers and colleagues and telling their stories, which we are repurposing and sending out to the local media in the Lakes Region. So far, we have seen release pick-ups in publications such as the Concord Monitor, Laconia Daily Sun and The Weirs Times, and one man we featured in a blog and press release was interviewed live on the radio by personality Pat Kelly.
Most recently, I wrote a blog about Jeff and the team he works with in the kitchen.
Every summer, Patrick’s serves about 900 people a day, and a team of roughly 45 culinary professionals works to give them a consistent quality experience. “We’re a great team,” says Jeff. “Our staff members are so competent and professional. They’re dedicated to the ongoing development of their culinary skills, and they basically run the show out back now. We are proud and grateful for their loyalty and capabilities.”
Jeff says the guiding principle for the kitchen staff is maintaining a consistent quality of food. “You want the meal your customer had last week to be the same as the one they’ll get this week or will have next week,” he says. “People have expectations once they have a dish once. They want it to be as good as the last time.”
The tried-and-true method for maintaining consistency is the notebook in the kitchen that holds each of Patrick’s recipes. Cooks can remove each laminated page from the binder, study it, spill ingredients on it, and put it back in the book.
Experimentation, creativity, and good listening also play a role in shaping the menu.
Jeff says the staff has developed favorites over the years, from what they’ve had while dining out themselves and what they’ve seen prepared on television. “We also get a lot of feedback through comment cards and pay very close attention to that and make adjustments accordingly,” he says.
My personal favorites are the Seafood Chowder, Lobster Crab Cakes, and Sirloin Tips, but everything Patrick’s serves up is delicious.
If you are ever in the Lakes Region, I encourage you to stop in, have something to eat, and introduce yourself to two of the nicest guys I know.