Father’s Day Brings Out the Meat and Beer
Father’s Day is the third-most popular day for dining out, behind Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, according to the National Restaurant Association, and while Mother’s Day menus sway toward elegant brunches and Mimosas, Father’s Day menus often head in a different direction—right to the meat and beer.
The dining experience tends to be a more casual affair, and not necessarily family-centric. Restaurants mold Father’s Day into an occasion, however, by associating it with sports events, live music, and beverage pairings. Think ballgames and beer.
In Chicago, four of DMK Restaurants—DMK Burger Bar, Fish Bar, Ada Street, and County BBQ—are offering a promotion on Father's Day called "Drink the Beer Your Daddy Used to Drink." Dads will be treated to complimentary Schlitz all day on Father's Day.
“Father’s Day is a fun day, and what we are offering is a concept where you go to relax—come as you are,” says Michael Kornick, co-owner of DMK Restaurants with David Morton. “There is no pretense.”
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
DMK’s Country BBQ’s regular menu offers a slew of smoked meats dressed in house-made sauces, and hits like the Bacon and Barbeque Parfait. For Father’s Day, the restaurant is also taking pre-orders for whole smoked pork butts (for pulled pork, serves 12) and whole smoked chickens (serves 2) “so that dads can get out from behind the grill, and take credit for the food without doing the work,” Kornick says.
Father’s Day will run all day at the Chicago-based eateries. “We are expecting activity for lunch and dinner, because we are close to Wrigley field,” says Kornick. “Dad can go to a ballgame, and stop in here for lunch or dinner.” DMK Burger Bar is the closest DMB brand to the ballpark.
Kornick doesn’t expect the same turnout as Mother’s Day—people tend to stay home more for Father’s Day, he says. “Turnout will also depend on weather. As it heads into summer, there is great demand for outdoor seating, which we have at three of our locations.”
Weather is also a factor for The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, a restaurant and brewery located in Half Moon Bay, California, a coastal city in San Mateo County.
“Revenue for us really comes down to the weather here on the coast,” says Mary Oldham, director of sales. “Holidays are always good, but if it’s really hot in the valley we can fill our 6,000 square feet, starting at 9 a.m. with our weekend breakfast to close, with sometimes two hour waits." She adds that the restaurant has space to expand as demand arises, thanks to its large front patio, side patio, and outdoor Mavericks Beer Garden that overlooks the brewing facility.
The brewery has been promoting a special Father’s Day menu and music selection for more than 10 years. Last year, it added special event tickets to Gamer Babe Day at AT&T Park, the San Francisco Giants ballpark. Luxury buses bring fans to the park to watch the team play the Colorado Rockies. Before the game, there is a tailgate party, with a feast provided by the Giants served alongside the brewery’s own Mavericks Beer & Ales.
On Sunday, guests can indulge in beer and seafood while listening to live music at the venue itself, overlooking Pillar Point Harbor. The doors open at 9 a.m. with Father’s Day breakfast items served, and daylong menu specials include a Crab Cake Sandwich and Smoked Baby Back Pork Ribs. Every dad who orders an entrée will receive a complementary Mavericks growler, which they can fill later.
Planning for the special event starts months’ earlier, with menu offerings based on customer feedback and demand. “Our owners are huge Giants fans and as a restaurant and brewery we wanted to expand our brand potential to that market, and this year partnered with the Giants Special Events Team to be the official sponsor of Gamer Babe Day at AT&T park,” says Oldham.
Trying Something New
Dave Cannell, co-owner with brother Pete of Fratelli Ristorante in Sandy, Utah, in the Salt Lake City area, doesn’t typically host Father’s Day dinners. The upcoming casual buffet this June 15 is a first for the restaurant, which will celebrate its seven-year anniversary Nov. 1. The restaurant serves traditional Italian cuisine.
“We figured we would try something different,” Cannell says. With one 6 p.m. seating, the buffet delivers the necessary amount meat—homemade Bratwurst, Tuscan Ribs, Kahlua Pork, Lamb Sausage, Teriyaki Chicken—along with Cedar-Plank Salmon, pasta, salads, and desserts. “We are also offering penne pasta with our house-made red sauce—you have to take care of the kids and moms, too,” Cannell notes.
Fratelli has also never held a Mother’s Day event; the restaurant is usually closed on Sundays, and three to four times a year it holds reservation-only, five-course wine pairing dinners. “We try to feature one a month to give our devoted followers an opportunity to see a different side of the restaurant,” Cannell says. Father’s Day is another one of those opportunities. There will be beer and wine pairings to go with the meals for an additional cost.
Of course, some dads do appreciate that touch of elegance. In midtown Manhattan, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse answers the call, with a three-course prix-fixe tasting menu. The seasonal menu items prepared by Executive Chef Chad Brown include Seared Lamb Tenderloin with roasted peppers, aged balsamic, shaved Parmigiano, and summer truffle; Grilled Center Cut 12-ounce Filet Mignon, served with crispy fingerling potato, confit onions, and white truffle butter; and a Dessert Cart by Genevieve Meli.
By Joann Whitcher