Farewell to my famous Irish buddy

No, not THAT guy… I mean everything BUT that guy!

I’m sad to report that one of my favorite restaurants has closed as of Monday, March 3. Famous Murphy’s — recently known simply as Murphy’s — was a “Cheers”-like establishment (i.e. nice restaurant upstairs, smoky bar downstairs) in Reno, Nevada. Everything I ate at Famous Murphy’s was terrific. They had plenty of Irish-themed appeitzers, entrees and bar food, including a specialty baked potato that I’ll get to in a minute.

I frequented FM when I lived there, and would pop in most every time I was back in town. Although I only ate upstairs one or twice, I was a quasi-regular in their Grill and Oyster Bar. Never had a drop of booze, though; it was all about their S.S. Spud. It’s a twice-baked potato stuffed with shrimp, cheese, sour cream and topped with a mornay sauce. During Happy Hour it was a bit less than the usual $5.95. I discovered this unique dish when my fellow Reno Gazette-Journal co-workers and I would convene there late every Thursday night.

Their S.S. Spud, circa 2001

Living in San Diego since 1994, it was tough to go up to a year between S.S. Spuds… so I reverse-engineered one of these bad boys and the approximate recipe is below.

S.S. Spud
(twice-baked, shrimp-stuffed potato)

Serves 1

1 large baking potato
Two heaping tablespoons sour cream
Two tablespoons margarine
Shredded Romano cheese
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Handful of rinsed and dried bay shrimp
Lemon wedge

Mornay sauce
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons margarine
3 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions (Mornay sauce):
With heat at medium low, melt margarine in saucepan. Add flour. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens. Add seasonings and cheese. Keep stirring until cheese melts. Should be pretty thick. Makes enough for about three potatoes.

Directions (potato):
Preheat oven to 400° F. Wash and dry potato, and ventilate with fork. Bake potato for 1 hr. 15 min. Remove potato from oven and cut off the bottom quarter of the potato. Transfer that skin to a baking dish.

Scoop the contents of the baked potato into a mixing bowl (be sure there’s no potato skin whatsoever in the bowl). Add large pinches of both cheeses, margarine and sour cream to potato. Mash thoroughly with potato masher. Fold shrimp into potato mix. Potato should be cool enough to form into a ball with your hands, and place ball on the 1/4 skin you placed on the baking dish. In this order: top the potato ball with a covering of Mornay sauce (enough to coat the entire top of the potato), then Parmesan and Romano cheeses, then a few taps of paprika.

Bake the potato at 400° F. for another 15 minutes or so. Serve immediately with lemon wedge.

My S.S. Spuds. Took three tries but I think the final recipe is about a 99% match.

I’m so anal in trying to replicate the dining experience, I even bought the same baking/serving dish that FM used, and use those little yellow “hair nets” for my lemon wedge. The only thing missing is the tinkling of quarters at the video poker slots, ESPN on the widescreen TVs and the occasional puffs of Marlboros irritating my eyes and lungs.

So I say farewell to my Irish friend, whose passing just two weeks before St. Patrick’s Day makes the occasion just a bit more depressing.


9 thoughts on “Farewell to my famous Irish buddy

Add yours

  1. I fondly remember you attempting to woo me with your S.S. Spud but now you're sharing that spud with the whole world wide web. Sadness.

  2. kudos P.Ho for reverse-engineering that recipe! though D is obviously not a fan, it sounds like something i wouldn't mind attempting! 🙂

  3. At first I thought you said you WORE a yellow hair net while making this. I should read more carefully.

  4. Too funny that you even tried to replicate the plating! Sounds pretty yummy to me. Hey, I lived in that neck of the woods (Carson) for a very long time before I moved to SD!

  5. Hi there my name is Jeena and I have started a food recipe forum that I thought you would like to join here Click here for food recipe forumI would love to see you on there to chat about food and cooking and you can talk about anything you like and start your very own topics. 🙂 or see my main food recipe website Jeenas food recipe siteYou have an excellent food website yourself and your just the right person to take part on our cooking forum, your going to love it!Hope to see you soon- your most welcome to come and join us foodies, we are a friendly group and you will have lots of fun. 🙂 Thanks Jeena xjeenaskitchen.com/forum

  6. Should I worry about ordering a seafood/shrimp dish at a bar? But I'm guessing you never got sick on these or you wouldn't be making them? Of course, a blood and urine test to verify that your system is free of sea monkey colonization would be reassuring, nonetheless. A Very Concerned Reader

  7. @Darlene — There was much wooing, potatoes or otherwise. =:^*

    @Photogirl — Nah, D is a fan… but M. Nero is an überfan (he walked off with 2 lbs. of spud leftovers one Thanksgiving).

    @Justjenn — It’d have to be a special hairnet to constrain my spines.

    @Recipegirl — Represent! CCHS Senators ’86 woohoo (crunkles a beer can on forehead)! Remember: admitting you’re from Carson City is the first step to recovery.

    @Jeena — Flatterer! This is Darlene’s blog and I'm just the guest host.

    @Anonymous — When I found out Sea Monkeys™ were brine shrimp, I was devastated. If they were tiger shrimp I could’ve at least had me a decent lunch.

  8. Famous Murphy’s was a good place to eat but a TERRIBLE place to work. I briefly worked there delivering for their catering service. The politics, backstabbing, brown-nosing, bootlicking & bribery were unbelievable. Mike & Tim Wiltshire were awful; they would call you ‘stupid’ and other lovely names. Their reputation as an employer in Reno was famous, all right-famously bad. The single worst job I ever had-i’ve met other FM ex-employees who said the same thing. My only regret was that they didn’t have to file for bankruptcy-the Wiltshire brothers deserve nothing but the worst.

  9. Famous Murphy’s for a few years was the end of my day!!! Many of my friends would gather there and just have a meal in the grill and a few beers. It was a very comfortable place to meet with friends for an hour or two after our long work days in the early 90’s.

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