5 Pieces of Equipment to Make Next-Level Pub Food

Expand Your Pub's Food Menu

Even if the food you serve isn't the main reason patrons find their way into your pub, most customers still expect to be able to grab a bite to eat as they enjoy great drinks and good company. When your establishment's focus is on drinks, it's easy to settle for the traditional pub staples when it comes to food: nachos, pretzels, sandwiches, and drab frozen fare that's easy to reheat and quickly get out to the table.

It's easier than you may think to fill out your menu with offerings that may actually make your pub a destination for diners, or at least offer items that are a step above the food served at the average dive and command higher average ticket prices. This non-traditional bar equipment can help you develop a respectable bar food menu without breaking the budget.

The High-Speed Oven

On the cutting edge of restaurant equipment technology, high-speed ovens combine two or more cooking methods that are traditionally found in separate pieces of equipment. The most popular combination is microwave energy and heat impingement, each supplementing the other's weaknesses and building on the other's strength. The microwaves provide rapid heating, while impingement creates the crispy browning and uniform heat associated with traditional ovens.

The high-speed oven is a great alternative to the microwave and the deep fryer for many applications. The technology can heat frozen foods up to serving temperature in a snap. A high-speed oven can crisp a pizza's crust while heating its toppings throughout. There are even models designed to heat panini sandwiches, imparting distinguishing grill marks in the process.

The Countertop Deck Oven

Pizza is a favorite companion to beer, but the pies traditionally served in pubs are often underwhelming affairs that come wrapped in plastic. Authentic pizzerias bake their pies on stone decks in hulking ovens made for that purpose, but you can come pretty close to rivaling that quality with a countertop version of the equipment.

Stone or metal decks crisp the pizza's crust, while elements above the product melt cheese and heat toppings thoroughly. Many manufacturers offer pint-sized versions of their deck ovens that measure around 2 feet wide or less, small enough that they won't take up too much space but large enough to bake a sizeable pie or two.

A countertop deck oven can handle much more than just pizza. You can bake fresh pretzels and even loaves of bread in one. These baked snacks can serve as foundations for creative appetizers and entrees alike, and a countertop deck oven is easy to operate.

The Commercial Steamer

Before you write the steamer off as having no business in a pub kitchen, consider for a moment that the steamer is responsible for serving up some of the most succulent ribs, healthy seafood, flawless rice, and perfectly cooked eggs achievable. Commercial steamers can handle countless entrees in addition to the crunchy vegetable dishes you may associate them with. Steam heat helps maintains a protein's natural moisture without leaving it soggy.

Some of the best desserts are prepared in a commercial steamer, as well, from simple classics like cake to fancier treats like flan and crème brûlée. It's nearly impossible to overcook anything you prepare in a steamer, so there's little risk in leaving one in the hands of trainee employees.

The Griddle

You may already be serving burgers at your establishment, but if they're not rivaling those from the most sought-after burger joint in the city, you're doing yourself a disservice. The only thing standing between you and burger greatness is a griddle, although a great burger is just one item they'll empower you to prepare.

A griddle is one of the most versatile pieces of kitchen equipment you can own, capable of churning out short-order favorites from hash-browns and eggs to grilled steaks and chicken. One griddle can open entire new dayparts and get some extra business flowing in for your bar. If you don't have much countertop real estate to commit, countertop griddles come in widths as small as 24 inches.

The Panini Press

A grilled sandwich can be a hit morning, afternoon, or night, whether served with a side of hash browns for breakfast, as a special at lunch, or as a late-night snack. The panini press takes the humble sandwich up a notch, browning bread, melting cheese, and creating a symphony of textures and flavors, fetching a premium that basic cold sandwiches cannot.

A panini grill may pay for itself quickly, even if you use it only to prepare its namesake sandwich, but it can cook much more than that. Grilled wraps make popular choices for patrons looking for a lighter meal, and a number of Mexican-inspired dishes like burritos and quesadillas can be made more delicious with a panini press. You can even use it to cook proteins like chicken, which are given the appearance of being grilled by the lines on the hot platens.