Here at CityEats, we wanted to get up close and personal with some of our favorite restaurant people. Going beyond what’s cooking in their kitchens, we want to know what’s going on at home – and what could be more intimate than scoping out someone’s refrigerator? So, in this series, we’ll take a look into the most sacred of spaces of some of the most talked about food people in the city.
In honor of Philly Beer Week, which begins on June 1, we tracked down Christopher Mullins, Jr., of McGillin’s Olde Ale House and took a peek into his fridge.
So how long has your family owned McGillin’s?
My parents bought McGillin’s in 1993 from my grandparents who bought it in 1958. My grandfather bought it from the daughter of the founder. I’ve been here 6 years.
McGillin’s is a very cool place without being rowdy. How do you think you’ve been able to keep such a great vibe after all these years?
We are family-run. Generally speaking, one of us is always here. It does make a difference. Right now, my mother is in the kitchen, Dad’s here… there’s an extra level of care. And we’ve been here for 150 years, so were not looking to make a quick buck.
I guess most meals are had at the bar? Because this right here is one seriously clean fridge.
I’m not really home enough to get it dirty.
I take it you live alone. That is a respectable refrigerator for a single guy in the city. How old are you?
Now, tell me about the beers you have there.
McGillin’s has our own beer, the 1860 IPA. It was brewed for the 150th anniversary. But it’s been so successful that Stoudt’s continued to brew it for us. We sell it on draft and also by the bottle. And I like Yards, and on the door there’s Flying Fish. I only drink local beer.
Some beer snobs like more variety, but when I buy beer it’s only local. At McGillin’s we have 30 beers on draft. We carry the major brands and import and Irish stoudt. And the rest is dedicated to local — and by that, I mean regional. We try to keep everything within 90 miles, so we can ensure that it’s fresh and it’s just another way to be environmentally conscious.
Good beer, check. And it looks like you have some solid snacks in there too. I see some cheese…
I do try to keep some things in there to whip up for lunch or dinner. But this was right before going to the shore from Memorial Day weekend. There’s cheese, hummus, dates and the lime juice for margaritas.
McGillin’s is obviously a serious beer bar. What do you have planned for this year’s Beer Week?
We keep it simple. There’s a lot of traffic that comes through here and there’s over 1000 events in the city. We focus this year like we do every week of the year. Making sure the beer is cold and fresh.
Sly Fox, Saranac out of Utica, New York, and Yuengling are coming out. We love having events, specifically with Yuengling. It’s really nice: you’re in touch with the actual family that’s been brewing.
And what about the menu?
Were known for our wings and burgers. And even though we’re not a famous “restaurant” there’s a lot of people in the kitchen making sure the wings are fresh and plump, that the sauce is fresh and that it comes out hot, every time.
During Beer Week, we’ll be doing ‘Eat Beer’ where a selection of our specials is going to be made with beer. Salad dressings made with beer, sauces, braising liquids. It gives our kitchen a chance to play around with beer a little more than they would otherwise.
With over 150 years of history, it’s the attention to detail (and possibly the fact that they have their own theme song) that seems to keep this family-owned Philadelphia landmark on the map. Check them out for Beer Week, if you’re in the neighborhood. And be sure to stop in and say hi to Chris!
Thanks for letting CityEats raid your fridge!