Reporting Jason DeRusha
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — Launching one new food at the Minnesota State Fair can be risky, but launching two new foods in one year? That’s what O’Gara’s At the Fair is doing in 2013.
“First of all we deep fry it,” said Chef Scott Logelin, who knows what it takes to succeed at the fair.
Deep fried bread pudding is one of O’Gara’s two new items.
“When our vendor first brought it out, I didn’t know what bread pudding was,” laughed Kris O’Gara, part of the third generation running O’Garas on Snelling Avenue in St. Paul.
Her husband’s grandfather could have never imagined deep fried bread pudding when this place opened in 1941. The bread pudding is delicious: somehow dense yet light, crunchy out of the fryer then topped with a light ribbon of caramel sauce and a dusting of powdered sugar.
“It’s perfect to share,” said O’Gara.
Along with their normal Irish pub fare, the family is also selling pork belly sliders for the first time.
“Pork belly is a type of bacon,” said Logelin “it’s not as crisp, it’s more tender, and cooks more like a steak.”
O’Gara’s has been at the fair for a decade, but it’s been awhile since they launched a new food.
“It has to be approved by the Fair. They look at what other people are doing, what’s unique, what people have tried before, what has not been tried before,” said O’Gara.
The two slabs of pork belly are topped with a cabbage slaw that has a bit of an Asian flavor to it. O’Gara said the original plan was to put the pork belly on a stick and call it Stuck Pig.
“It’s a little messy, not perfect for walking around,” said WCCO’s Jason DeRusha.
“That’s one reason we didn’t put it on a stick,” said O’Gara. ”It’s not going to work,” she added.
New foods can be very profitable, as people want to try them out. The true test is if people come back for years to come.
“If the weather stays like this, it’s going to be a great fair,” said O’Gara.