By Nancy Giddens
My sister once called me an “acquired taste.” As I’ve aged, I realize she’s right. I’m a little too loud. I’m a little too crazy. I’m a little too opinionated. And, I’m a little too sarcastic. I have decided to put these qualities to use and invite you to join me on my trek through Jefferson City restaurants. Each week I will visit a different restaurant with a different guest and report on our conversations, our experience, and our meals. The goal is to highlight (or lowlight…yikes) JC eateries, introduce you to different menu options and expose you to several Capitol City personalities. Hopefully, you’ll acquire a taste for my guests, my reviews…and me.
For my inaugural column, the guests and destination were obvious. As session kicks off this week and my personal life is placed on hold for the next five months, I saw it fitting to have a “work family” lunch at a restaurant in which I feel most at home. Shannon Cooper and Jessica Land – two fearless people who tolerate me every day during session – joined me at O’Donoghue’s Steaks and Seafood to fuel up before the five-month sprint that is Missouri’s legislative session. In full disclosure, we dine in O’Donoghue’s regularly during session. Rarely does our order vary. Though, in an effort to grow and better critique the experience, I diverted from my standard sirloin salad (may I suggest feta cheese with balsamic vinaigrette) and instead opted for a portabella mushroom and asiago sandwich. Coop and Jessica selected the tilapia black and bleu salad and the chicken philly, respectively. We finished with a delightfully large brownie large enough for us to share. Bottom line, the food was great and our variations were a success…though, this old creature of habit is sure to return to her steady staple!
The Place – O’Donaghue’s Steaks and Seafood is located a few quick minutes from the Capitol on 900 East High Street. It’s proprietor Juanita Donehue (no, that isn’t misspelled) was the MO Association of Counties lobbyist for years and opened the restaurant nine years ago. Although Juanita sadly passed away last year, her son Sam continues his mother’s vision and serves as restaurant chef. Each day you will find a slew of legislators, lobbyists and locals frequenting the restaurant. Pertinent to the Jefferson City community, the business owns the old C&H Tavern where private parties of 50 may be held.
The People – The service was the best. Dawn, a server unknown to us, took great care and made certain that our salads were brought out quickly, our sandwiches were served hot and our drinks were never empty. She didn’t even bat an eye when we ordered our brownie with substitutions. It was just too early for a Bailey’s reduction sauce!
The Product – The lunch and dinner menus remain similar year after year. The lunch menu boasts a broad range of salads, sandwiches and pastas. The dinner menu offers hand-cut steaks and several seafood selections. The daily special typically is creative and has included skate, ponga, and shark. Sorry friends, you’ll have to look up skate and ponga for yourselves.
The Price – Prices vary by selection and there is something delicious in every price range. The lunch menu ranges from $5.99 – $9.99 and the dinner menu ranges from $8.99 – $32.99. As the infamous “they” say, “you get what you pay for.”
The Pizzazz – Without question, the very best part of dining at O’Donoghue’s is Robert, the O’Donaghue’s Manager. He greets you upon arrival, makes certain you are served, and is just one fantastic guy. Thank you Robert for a great experience!
Nancy can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
O’Donoghue’s Steaks and Seafood
900 East High Street in Jefferson City, Missouri