Anyone familiar with the Oklahoma City dining scene has likely heard the name Sean Cummings over the years. The chef and restaurateur, who moved from Kansas City to Oklahoma more than two decades ago, has been synonymous with classic Irish pub fare for years.
This year, Cummings – whose wife Cathy owns another OKC staple, Vito’s Ristorante – celebrates his third St. Patrick’s Day in the new location of Sean Cummings Irish Restaurant. Now located at 7628 N. May Ave., the joint first opened its doors twelve years ago at 96th and N. May before moving next door to Vito’s for a time. This year will undoubtedly be a much different type of celebration, with most of the crowd activities happening outside. Still, inside diners are able to find their favorite Irish classics.
Starters like Guinness-infused wings with house-made blue cheese and harp-steamed mussels and clams with a beer cream sauce lead to traditional main courses like bangers and mash, Boxty filled with beef or fish, fisherman’s pie and, of course, fish and chips.
In addition to the Irish specialties, other pub staples like burgers and sandwiches round out the menu, and a selection of Irish beers, whiskeys and cocktails quench any thirst. Be sure to keep up with the restaurant on Facebook (@SeanCummingsIrishPub) because menu specials are published frequently, as well as videos and information on radio engagements by both Sean and Cathy.
Food isn’t the only Irish specialty you can find at the restaurant; live music is also a constant. In a time when many larger concert venues remain closed, you can enjoy local talent while you indulge and imbibe.
I asked Cummings about his desire to open an Irish pub in Oklahoma after working in notable white-tablecloth restaurants in Kansas City (he previously owned The Grille on Broadway). He told me that his primary goal was to open a “working man’s Irish pub – someplace where you can feel just as comfortable coming in wearing jeans as in a suit.”
One challenge he found in opening the restaurant was finding staff who had even been in an authentic Irish pub. Cummings says that he and many of his employees traveled around the state to give them a feel for the concept. With his parents coming from two different parts of Ireland, Cummings says it was vital for him to provide Oklahoma with an authentic experience that even some of us of Irish descent might not truly understand.
That manifests in dim lighting, traditional Irish music and a scattering of Irish memorabilia over the walls. A warm, welcoming environment –where everyone feels like a regular – is another perk that adds to the restaurant’s appeal.
One of Cummings’ most exciting projects to date is a cookbook, and he’s happy to share some of the recipes. Stay tuned for information on a publication and release date. And for updated information on the restaurant’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration, follow the crew on Facebook. Safety protocols will be of the utmost importance.
6 large “day old” cinnamon rolls,
1 qt. heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
Spray vegetable oil
1 can of sweetened evaporated milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 shot of Irish whiskey
Spray oven safe dish with oil.
Put chopped up cinnamon rolls on the bottom of the dish.
Mix the eggs, sugar and cream with the cinnamon. Pour over the bread mix. Cover with plastic and let soak overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Cover the plastic wrap with a layer of aluminium foil. Seal it tight on sides and corners. Then bake for 45 minutes in the oven.
Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
When serving bread pudding, scoop and drizzle some sauce over the top.
My Mom’s Irish Soda Bread
4 cups white flour
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ lb unsalted butter
1¾ cups thick buttermilk
1 cup raisins, or sultanas in Europe
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
Put on gloves and mix wet ingredients in a bowl.
Add the dry ingredients and cold butter. Mix for 15 seconds with paddle attachment on low if using a mixer. Mix by hand for about 30 seconds.
Flour your cast iron skillet or baking pan.
Form a ball with your dough and place in the center of the baking pan or skillet. Then flatten the top with the rest of the loaf for easier baking.
Cut this design # on top of the loaf. Then sprinkle with flour.
Preheat oven to 375° and bake bread for about 40-45 minutes. The bread needs to be 180° in the middle to be done.
Serve with lemon curd or butter.
Pro top: If your oven has a fan, your bread will brown quicker. Just turn the temperature of the oven down 25°.