There are few restaurants with a name as interesting as Beef O’Brady’s. The Irish themed sports bar and grill goes out of its way to tout itself as family-friendly, fun, and full of delicious food and drinks. It’s not a chain that a lot of people have heard of, mostly because it is located almost entirely in the southern United States. However, it has its own history, fun facts, and controversies that other, bigger restaurants have as well. Beginning in Florida and stretching out from there, Beef O’Brady’s (or Beef’s as it is colloquially known) has only continued to grow outward. It doesn’t do anything fancy, but it doesn’t really need to. People love Beef’s for its uncomplicated nature. Sometimes they just want a simple place to go and have a beer and some wings and watch the game (whatever game it may be). Beef’s is almost like a refuge from the busy world, an old-fashioned spot that unashamedly remains old-fashioned. However, it has made some changes throughout its lifespan, keeping up with the modern age and keeping itself relevant. It may not be a household name, but Beef’s has made its own spot in the restaurant business. It peddles the kind of food that some people may consider to be boring or played out, but it does so while wearing its heart on its sleeve. Beef’s doesn’t need to change a thing about who they are to please people. It does just fine doing what it has been doing since it first opened. It’s the kind of place that doesn’t put on airs. It doesn’t pretend to be fancier than it is, and it’s proud to be a community place where people can sit down, relax, and forget their troubles. These are the top 10 untold truths of Beef O’Brady’s.
10. Established in 1985
1985 was a crazy year. There was a lot going on in the world, and not all of it was great. CNN reporter Jeremy Levin was freed from captivity in Lebanon, Nelson Mandela refused an offer from the South African government to be freed, and Coca-Cola changed their formula, resulting in the much-maligned New Coke. However, things weren’t all bad. After all, 1985 was also when Back to the Future hit theaters, and Live Aid raised millions of dollars for famine relief in Africa.
1985 was also the year that humble little bar and grill first opened its doors. The name of that restaurant was Beef O’Brady’s. This little place in Brandon, Florida promised a neighborhood spot that would serve up great food and drink, as well as showing sports on the television. It wasn’t exactly revolutionary for a bar to devote itself to sports, but Beef O’Brady’s quickly became a neighborhood hangout. From there, things only got bigger for the little bar and grill as it began to expand and open more locations. By 2000, Beef O’Brady’s had opened 40 locations, and by 2011 it had expanded to 215 locations. Not bad for a little family-friendly joint that opened back when people had VCR’s, watched Alf, and were sweating to the oldies. It just goes to show that the biggest chains can come from humble roots and to never underestimate the growth opportunities of local businesses.
9. Originally sold No Hard Liquor
When we think of sports bars today, we think of places where you can not only get beer and wings, but also all kinds of other food and drink. Maybe you want to have a margarita and some nachos while you watch the football game? Or, if you’re more traditional, maybe you’d like a rum and coke, or a whiskey ginger, or even a gin and tonic. Either way, your choices aren’t just limited to what’s on tap. You can get any kind of drink you want in most places.
However, this was not the case at Beef O’Brady’s when it first opened. The restaurant touted itself as being “family friendly,” and that was really code for something else. Namely, it meant that the restaurant did not serve hard liquor. You could definitely get a beer, but when it came to something like whiskey or gin, you’d be out of luck. This policy changed as the years went by, but Beef’s was originally trying to sell itself as a place that wouldn’t be full of a bunch of rowdy drunks who were causing all sorts of problems or being loud and belligerent. This seems like an odd rule though. If the place really wanted to avoid people getting drunk, wouldn’t they just not serve alcohol at all? Did it not occur to them that people can also get drunk on beer? Either way, Beef’s loosened up eventually and started offering cocktails to its customers. After all, what better moneymaker is there than drinks?
8. Was not Started by Someone Named Brady
People like to name things after themselves. If you think we’re lying about that, then look at practically any brand on a store shelf. All or most of them are emblazoned with someone’s name, whether it’s their first, last or even full monikers. The fact of the matter is that people want you to know that they created something. They want you to remember that they were the ones who brought you that great product. They don’t like to hide behind fake names because, well, people have egos that need to be satisfied.
However, this is not the case with Beef O’Brady’s. Sure, the name of the restaurant might sound like it came from a real person. Maybe he was a really buff Irish dude who loved to cook and serve people bar? First of all, that guy sounds like a hoot, and we wish he was real. However, the truth is actually far less interesting. Beef O’Brady’s was actually opened by a man named Jim Mellody. Why the name Beef O’Brady’s? Well, the beef part was obvious, as the place is a restaurant where you could get a burger or even a steak. The O’Brady’s part came from the fact that Mellody and his wife wanted to evoke the feeling of an old Irish pub. Honestly, they could have called it “Mellody’s” and it would have been totally fine, but as we know now, the rest is history.
7. Has a Gluten-Friendly Menu
Most places these days that offer a gluten-free menu are not exactly the kind of places that the general public wants to go. They’re either too out of the way, too expensive, or just too health-conscious. The problem is that people who can’t eat gluten also enjoy the kind of food they serve at bar and grills. Seriously! Gluten-free people also enjoy the flavors of wings, fries, drinks, and burgers (as long as there’s a gluten-free bun or no bun at all).
Well, Beef O’Brady’s looks after these people. Their menu includes a section that lets diners know which options are gluten-free, something that you don’t really see at too many bars or restaurants. Some places even go as far as to wear their excluding of people with food allergies as a badge of honor. “Oh, you can’t have gluten? Then don’t eat here!” It’s downright rude, and a really stupid business strategy. Beef’s isn’t like that. They want everyone to come. It’s a nice way for Beef’s to say “we know that there are people out there who can’t eat gluten, and we want them to know that they are welcome here.” It just goes to show that even if a place likes to say “hey, we’re old-fashioned. We like to serve drinks, classic bar food, and let people know that they can come in and just enjoy themselves,” they can still cater to those who have food allergies and want to join in the fun.
6. They’re Open on Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a huge holiday in the United States. In fact, the day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. People are going all over the place to see their families. They’re sweating it up in kitchens preparing giant turkey dinners, and they’re barely getting any sleep as they go wait in line for Black Friday sales. So what can you do if you don’t have any of those things going on? Where do you go to get a decent meal?
Well, you could drop into Beef O’Brady’s, because they are open on Thanksgiving. That’s right, if you’re the kind of person who is stuck because they couldn’t get a flight or had to work, you can always go to Beef’s where they will treat you like family. You might not be eating turkey, but at least you can get a burger and watch some football. Maybe you can even have a few beers and make some friends with the other folks at the bar. Either way, if you’re alone on Thanksgiving, or if you’re just the kind of family that doesn’t want to cook an entire meal, Beef’s has you covered. That’s why Beef’s is known as a family place. They’re the kind of people who want to give folks a place to go if they don’t have any other choice in the matter. They want to provide a space for those who are alone, depressed, and just need somewhere to sit and forget their troubles for a while, even on a holiday.
5. They do Catering
We’ve all been in a situation where we need a lot of food for a party. Then you go to figure out what to get, and you realize that a lot of catering places just do the same old stuff: sandwiches, veggie trays, and maybe an okay dessert platter. That’s not enough for you, though! You’re trying to impress people. You want to wow them, fill them up, and leave them wanting more. Also, you might want a few delicious leftovers for yourself. Well, there’s some good news for you. Beef O’Brady’s provides catering services. It’s true! You can call ahead to any Beef O’Brady’s location, give them your order, and they’ll bring trays of delicious food to your event! What kind of food can you get? All of the best kinds! We’re talking wings, quesadillas, taco bars, desserts, even fried shrimp and cheeseburger wraps! It’s all the best things you want to see at a catered event, with none of the pretense.
Sure, some people might prefer the old-fashioned catering, with their tiny tuna sandwiches and cold broccoli with dip. Those people though are just plain boring. That’s why no one likes going to their dumb parties. They end up with all this leftover food that just isn’t that great, and then it goes to waste, which is terrible. Others, however, prefer to have something a little more flavorful, a little more hearty, and most of all, a little more fun.
4. They Serve a Burger with Five Cheeses
Everybody loves cheese. Okay, not everybody, but most people can’t get enough of it. That’s simply because cheese just makes everything better. Got some veggies? Put cheese on them! Pizza? Extra cheese! Dessert? Cheesecake! It’s undeniable. Cheese is the lifeblood of food. It’s what makes things go from being just plain delicious to being extraordinary. So how does Beef O’Brady’s make their cheeseburger even more special than anything else?
Well, if you check out the burgers on their menu, you’ll find plenty of different flavor combinations. However, one burger stands out among the rest. What makes it stand out? How about the fact that it includes not one, not two, not three, not even four, but five cheese! Come on! That’s like cheese overload! However, it’s true! Beef’s went and did it with their Five Cheese Burger uses American, provolone, cheddar, and Monterey jack cheeses, but also crusts the bun with a layer of parmesan for extra flavor and crunch. On top of all of that, the burger is then garnished with a mozzarella stick. Honestly, do you think you could find a burger cheesier than that anywhere else? We didn’t think so. So if you really need some cheese and you don’t want to stick to just having it with plain old crackers, then you need to try this burger at Beef’s. You definitely won’t regret it!
3. Wings Come in 12 Flavors
Wings, wings, and more wings. That’s what makes the world go around, and it’s what makes life worth living! After all, who doesn’t love a platter piled high with delicious, crispy chicken wings coated in a delicious sauce? Everyone has their favorite flavor, whether it’s regular old honey garlic or the absolute hottest, burn your mouth off sauce on the menu. Some places offer the standard five sauces, and that’s all well and good, but true wing lovers want something more. They want to know that when they walk into a place, they’re going to have a hard time choosing a flavor.
Well, Beef’s wouldn’t be any help in that department, because they feature not five, not eight, not 10, but 12 wing sauces! That’s enough to keep the table debating for at least an hour over what flavors to get (before just deciding to get all 12, of course). The flavors range from mild tastes like garlic parmesan and teriyaki, all the way up to the hottest flavor on the menu, atomic! Beef’s wings even come in dry rubs, which is great for those who don’t like their wings super saucy. So if you need to have wings right this instant, and you want to go somewhere where making the choice of what sauce to get is going to be more difficult than just about anything else in your life, then Beef’s is definitely the best place for you to go.
2. Had a Football Game Named After It
After apple pie and cheeseburgers, there may not be anything more American than football. People gather around tiny TV’s in bars to have drinks and watch football games almost every single day. There’s the NFL college football, even high school football draws in its loyal viewers. Well, Beef’s knew the value of football and branding, which is why they had an annual college football game named after them.
That’s right! Beef O’Brady’s was the main sponsor of the St. Petersburg Bowl. During that time, it was known as (what else?) the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl. This game is held every year in the college post-season. However, Beef’s was only the lead sponsor from 2009 to 2013. Currently, the game is known as the Gasparilla Bowl. Still, having the name on a Bowl game of their own was a huge leap for Beef O’Brady’s which got to share its name in its native Florida as well as anywhere else the game was being broadcast. People outside of the state and the south, in general, might have wondered what exactly Beef O’Brady’s was, but it didn’t matter, because now they knew the name. Beef’s has always had a relationship with football. After all, it is a sports bar. The Bowl game was their way of showing that they are big football fans and they want everyone to know it. Years later, though, there would be another football connection with Beef’s and it wouldn’t exactly be positive.
1. Got Involved with NFL Protests
During the 2016 season of the NFL, quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose not to stand during the national anthem. He did it as a form of protest against racial injustice in America, but it would go on to be defined by critics as an insult to those in uniform (even though most people in uniform actually supported the form of peaceful protest). Either way, Kaepernick’s act rubbed some people the wrong way, and they bought into the narrative that he hated America and was insulting the troops.
One of the places that pushed the negative Kaepernick narrative was Beef O’Brady’s. Several owners of Beef’s franchises decided not to air NFL games during the season because they thought the protests were inappropriate and an insult to US armed service members. Whether or not these protests actually worked is not clear. However, the NFL supported the decision by Beef’s to not air their games. It’s not exactly like the NFL is hurting for money or ad revenue as it is. Still, the decision for a restaurant to get political also sparked a debate in the last place you would think: Yelp. Reviewers were split down the middle on the restaurant’s decision. Some of them gave it five-star reviews, saying they were on its side for not airing the games. Others gave them one-star reviews, citing their disagreement with the policy (and also taking shots at the food).