Back in the 1980’s and 90’s, Bennigan’s was a favorite restaurant choice and had the biggest, most exciting menu of any chain restaurant I have ever seen. Bennigan’s Irish-American cuisine themed menu and fun atmosphere lead to their thriving success and hundreds of franchises being opened throughout the country. Their innovative menu choices were far before their time and they introduced diners to new menu items at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, Bennigan’s success was short lived and in 2006, after around 30 years in business, most franchises shut their doors and that was the last of the Bennigan’s “every day is St. Paddy’s Day” empire.
I had the pleasure of working at Bennigan’s for five years in Charleston, West Virginia, so the thrill was very real for me when I read that one had opened up in Melbourne, Florida, only 45 minutes north of my home in Vero Beach. Prior to this, my husband and I would take a cab to the one outside Panama City in Amador Causeway to have their broccoli bites and their world famous monte cristo. The taste was not quite the same but it felt like “home”. Now there is a Bennigan’s really close to my house and I plan to be a regular customer to their traditional recipes and yummy eats. Want to hear a secret? I met my husband of 25 years at Bennigan’s.
Bennigan’s Restaurant Review
Something Special: The appetizer sampler platter allows you to pick 2-3 choices from the menu to your liking. We chose the broccoli bites, potato skins, and nachos. While these are typical bar foods, and perhaps I am biased because I ate at Bennigan’s for five years straight, they are all just better at here. Try and see for yourself!
Noteworthy: Peyton remembered the amazing Death-by-Chocolate dessert from her younger experiences at Bennigan’s. We ordered one after our lunch to enjoy on the drive home. The waiter informed us that they were sold out and the ones currently being prepped were not quite ready. The manager came by our table a few minutes later and he himself had hand-dipped the luscious dessert so we would not leave disappointed.
Best Part of the Meal: The monte cristo at Bennigan’s is legendary! Turkey, ham, and cheese are sandwiched between two slices of bread, dipped in beer-batter, and quickly deep-fried. It is then dusted with powdered sugar and served with raspberry preserves. I have been enjoying this sandwich since I was 18 years old and though it sounds strange if you have never had it, you must give it a try. It is heavenly!
Bonus: Bennigan’s menu items are exactly the same as they were 25 years ago, which impressed me tremendously. During our training at Bennigan’s, back in the day, we had to memorize the exact recipe including ounces and ingredients. They all came back to me as I was reading through the menu.
What Needs Improvement: They need to spread quickly to satisfy all the Americans who have missed Bennigan’s delicious foods.
American Fare- Irish Hospitality
3955 W. New Haven Avenue, Melbourne, FL 32904
My Rating Scale 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest)= 9
What were your favorite Bennigan’s eats? Did you ever try the rio grande dip, cannoli, oriental chicken salad, fried ravioli, burger bites, baby back ribs, brownie bottom pie, or the spinach salad with hot bacon dressing? Those were a few of my favorite things.
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