French Twist

The French term “vol-au-vent” often refers to a small puff pastry with a hollow center filled with savory ingredients. It may not be a typical item found on Irish menus, but the pastry appetizer is one of many new entrees, appetizers, and desserts featured on the menu at Ri Ra Irish Pub located in Downtown Evansville at 701 N.W. Riverside Drive.

While French chefs may fill vols-au-vent with chicken or fish, Ri Ra Assistant Manager Jessica Taylor says the pub’s dish changes depending on items in the kitchen.

“We’ve done a chicken and curry, and we’ve done some different ones like a steak with a Jameson honey glaze,” she says. “Each day is different, just depending on what’s fresh and what we’ve got.”

A recent combination offered steak, red potatoes, and mushrooms as a filling topped with a cream Guinness sauce. The dish offers three of the pastries in one appetizer and is perfect paired with a pint of Guinness beer, says Taylor.

“What’s neat about this new menu is that we actually had a lot more feedback locally. Our general manager Ryan Bodine worked really hard on a lot of the recipes,” she says, adding that these recipes and new drink menu choices are found only at the Evansville Ri Ra and not at the other eight chain locations.

“It’s a lot of our classic things with a twist,” says Assistant Manager Beth Martin.

Taylor and Martin say the idea is to blend traditional Irish pub food with some fresh, local recipes. Other items on the new menu include Funnel Fries, a new dessert, Irish Mac and Cheese, and Roasted Ginger Bacon Buttered Corn. The pub also is opening its doors for brunch at 11 a.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. Sundays.

For more information about Ri Ra Irish Pub, call 812-426-0000 or visit

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