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Local Flavor - Mickey’s Restaurant

Shrimp and Gouda Arancini

 Mickey’s Head Chef Kevin Hornby (L), along with Sous Chef Brandon Kelley.

Mickey’s Head Chef Kevin Hornby (L), along with Sous Chef Brandon Kelley.

— He worked around the area while going to college, working at the former Royal Savage, the Elk’s Club and the Leaning Pines (now Crickets) in Peru. He landed at Mickey’s 17 years ago, and has been there ever since. He’s been head chef at Mickey’s for nearly 14 years.

The industry, he says, is good for raising a family because of the flexibility of the job as well as the dynamic found in a well run kitchen, a dynamic he says is definitely found at Mickey’s.

“I feel very fortunate to work here,” agrees Kelley. “As long as the people who are here right now are here down the road I don’t plan on going anywhere. I’ve worked in a lot of restaurants around town before I came here, and there’s just no other crew like there is here.”

Five years ago Kelley joined the team as sous chef, and the pair work seemlessly together to keep Mickey’s staple recipes fresh, while getting creative with the specials.

“Everyone in the kitchen will take anyone’s opinion,” Kelley said. “We’re not set in our ways. We like to try new things.”

Hornby said about 85 percent of the menu at Mickey’s stays constant, while they experiment with about 15 percent.

The balance of new recipes to stand-byes is good he thinks. Some people, he says, come to Mickey’s day after day and order the same thing.

“When we do our weekend specials, we like to think outside the box a little bit, and steer maybe a little bit away from Italian. We do some steak, and seafood, do a little Mediterranean every now and then,” says Hornby.

Hornby doesn’t eat out much locally, but vacations from time to time in coastal New Hampshire, and comes back from there with new menu ideas. The pair will also use the Internet and other sources like television to dig up fresh ideas. The Shrimp and Gouda Arancini, featured below for instance, came from an episode of The Soprano’s according to Hornby.

The pair have no plans to leave Mickey’s any time soon, and for diners at the Riley Avenue eatery, that is certainly welcome news.

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