Chef John Adamson of The Shannon Rose Makes his Mark

Since joining The Shannon Rose Irish Pub in January of 2011, Head Chef John Adamson has begun to make his mark on this well-known and lively eatery. Having experience running 3 other Irish restaurants throughout Monmouth County, he brought with him a passion for fresh ingredients, innovative dishes, and a “laid back and relaxed” style of cooking. He impressively studied and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY after realizing that cooking was the career for him and being in the kitchen is where he was meant to be.

Known for establishing the weekend specials and a variety of seafood dishes, John maintains a leadership role in the kitchen. Working with his staff, he believes it is important to have a willingness to learn and the ability to ask questions when working with him. He strives to become not only their leader, but their teacher.

He is passionate about relying on fresh ingredients and proud to remark that the kitchen he dwells in most hours of the day is a “scratch” one. Although he enjoys cooking anything, he holds a special place within for seafood; most attributable to being brought up in the shore town of Pt. Pleasant. It is not surprising then to note that the Harp Battered Fish & Chips is one of the most popular menu items. Besides that, other highly requested dishes include Homemade Shepherd’s Pie, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Guinness Beef Stew and the infamous, featured, Murder Burger. Curious? Described as a burger served on a Kaiser roll with American and Jack cheese, sautéed onions, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup and Thousand Island dressing, then dipped in Harp beer batter and deep fried until golden and crispy, it is a bragging-right novelty that might take 3 days to digest!

As for personal favorites, Adamson recommends the Guinness BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Shepherd’s Pie and the Corned Beef. Too heavy for you? Well, good news, he maintains his slim figure by not only eating lightly while on the job but working on new “lighter” fare. One of these creations, “The Naked Asian” is a low-carb option that consists of an Asian-marinated Angus beef patty served on a bed of lettuce and topped with a teriyaki glaze and sesame seeds, alongside is a soy ginger cucumber salad. Besides turning out this healthy option for diners, he continues to work on other gluten-free dishes that reflect his respect for customers and their dietary concerns.

After looking over the menu, it becomes immediately obvious that this is not just a “burger and appetizer” kind-of-place, a point this chef wants to get across. New menu items include a Chiptole Chicken Salad- mixed greens topped with a seared chicken breast, apple slices, bleu cheese, sun-dried cranberries, walnuts, then drizzled with Chipotle Ranch dressing, the Molly’s Chicken Wrap- grilled chicken, sun-dried cranberries, diced tomato, spring mix, Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinaigrette all wrapped up in a pesto tortilla, and The Caprese- large sliced vine-ripe tomato with fresh mozzarella, red onion slices, fresh basil and then drizzled with a balsamic glaze. Not too shabby for an Irish Pub, right? As for the “Burger & Appetizer” reputation, that might be in part due to mouth-watering options such as the new Bag O’ Rings- large onion rings breaded and fried then seasoned with Kosher salt and served in a paper bag, the new Memphis Burger- topped with Guinness BBQ pulled pork, cole slaw, an over-sized onion ring, and pepper jack cheese, or The Dublin Burger- covered with Irish Cheddar and Irish bacon, served on a toasted English Muffin with lettuce, tomato, and red onion.

It takes one talented and hard-working chef to not only pump out dishes like that, but to also keep his or her costumers coming back for more. Chef John Adamson exemplifies those qualities and remarks that seeing people smile when eating his food and interacting with both familiar and new faces each day is one of the best parts of his job. The warm and inviting, yet trendy and hopping atmosphere is one that he admires and looks forward to growing in. With a menu as described and a dedicated chef like Chef Adamson, I am one that foresees this place growing, flourishing, and being home to people looking for a great meal with flavor, freshness, and flair.

The Shannon Rose Irish Pub
855 St. George’s Avenue,
Woodbridge, NJ. There is also another location in Clifton, NJ.

Gina Glazier, Middlesex County Regional Editor is a born and raised Jersey Girl. She recently earned her Master’s degree in Reading & Literacy and currently teaches 5th grade. Gina lives with her husband Matt who is her number one fan and shares in her passion for the culinary arts, minus the cooking part! Her “culinary life” became a reality a few years back when she was chosen to be a guest of The Star Ledger’s Munchmobile. This ignited Gina’s desire to be around food and all its counterparts all the time, meaning restaurants, cookbooks, TV shows, cooking, etc. Gina says her “biggest and most monumental experience” was being a part of  The Star Ledger’s Pizza Patrol two years ago where she traveled the entire state, eating at 3, 4, sometimes 5 pizzerias a night for just about 6 months! You can check out her Hungry Teacher adventures, on her blog