The Professor and I sidled up to our favorite Corvallis pub, Cloud and Kelly’s, for our weekly Friday treat. He gets the Irish breakfast. I usually get fish’n’chips. If he’s feeling frisky, he’ll get a Newcastle or a Guinness. Similarly, I get a concoction of fire and celestial manna known as a Viking’s Horn (whiskey, local honey, soda water, ice). We’ll split an appetizer of either poutine or chicken wings. This week was no exception. We sat down as we normally do at Cloud and Kelly’s; happy for the weekend, a tinge of tired around the edges, and ready to eat the fuck out of some food. I hadn’t much of a chance to look at the menu properly because I was waxing philosophical about what exactly Corvallis’ subculture might be aside from a handful of hobos and maybe twice the amount of reeking squatter punks.

Professor X blurts out “Where’s the Irish breakfast?”

I stop mid-sentence and scan to no avail.

“Where’s the poutine?!”

All I could muster was “What the fuck…”

Turns out that that they reconsidered their menu and jettisoned Irish breakfast and poutine. According to the waitress, the kitchen is small and said dishes require storing quite a few ingredients. I dig that, but a quick scan of the resto’s online reviews as well as a look around the joint on a busy day would indicate that both were popular dishes. With little choice left in the matter, chicken wings replaced poutine and bangers’n’mash replaced Irish breakfast. It was a good dinner. Cloud and Kelly’s is far from the usual manky pub food. However, eradicating these dishes now places it just that much closer to yet another boring ass pseudo Irish pub.

Look, I’m well aware that Irish populations are burrowed far underground in the places I’ve inhabited up to this point. From what I understand, there’s one in Columbus (The Hibernia Club, if memory serves correctly) and it’s members only. (Ed note: Second husband somehow lied his way in and swears the IRA is alive and well in Columbus. The Guinness is also served cellar temperature.) They exist in Chicago on a similar great white buffalo status. My point is that I’ve never been to one (either in Ireland or a “real” one in the States), but I know damn well that these greasy joints full of farts and cologne that pull out all the stops with green beer on St. Patrick’s Day and Dropkick Murphys cranked to eleven are simulcra; as Irish as General Tso’s is Chinese. Even the less fratty ones serve up the same fried hell regardless of whether you’re in Easton Town Center or Pheonix, AZ. The Irish pub and, to a lesser extent, the British pub as currently conceived in the States has a purpose, but I’m over it. You won’t catch me in one unless the food is really good or it’s the only place to eat.

Which brings me back to Cloud and Kelly’s. I’m not calling out the owners on their roots, but I am calling them out for stepping away from what was a good thing; the closest to a “real pub” experience I’ve had in the States. Your food is good! The music isn’t too loud! Prices are reasonable! The waitstaff are friendly and helpful! And, most importantly, your Irish breakfast and poutine were the bomb! I hated black and white pudding up until now; that’s how good it was. Furthermore, poutine is all the rage even if it’s technically Canadian. Every drunk on earth eats it! Is the population here really just so stubbornly vanilla that something other than the usual American bar food is too challenging? I’d like to think not and, from what the waitress said, we aren’t. The collective outcry over losing these two menu items has been notable. Sure, you still have bangers and mash and shepard’s pie, but c’mon. Pubs are a dime a dozen in Corvallis. Ya’ll own three of them, so you should know. Be bold and do something that distinguishes you from the rest. Bring back Irish breakfast and poutine, even if just for weekend brunch and late night respectively. People will eat it and Professor X can stop reeling with baffled indignation. You should see the sad monkey face he’s been pulling.

P.S. If you’re looking to swap something off the menu, might I suggest the pasta special (too much butter, too much salt, water-logged ravioli that’s oddly hard around the edges) and make a poutine upgrade available for the house fries appetizer. Call it “wet fries,” if you have to make it more ‘Murican. Also? If you insist on scaling back on the actual “across the pond” food, you might want to up your burger game. Block 15 is a short trek by foot and they have that market cornered.

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