Meet The Chef: Dan Connelly of The Goat's Beard
Get to know the head chef behind Manayunk's newest farm-to-table restaurant.
Roxborough-Manayunk Patch wants to meet the people behind the kitchens, serving their signature dishes at some of the local restaurants. Meet the head chef behind The Goat's Beard, Manayunk's newest farm-to-table restaurant.
Name: Dan Connelly
Family: A husband and a father of two to a 1-year-old and 6-year-old.
Current Residence: Ardmore
Schooling: Haverford High School, Temple University, Philadelphia Restaurant School.
Earlier Stints: Connelly studied sociology and statistics at Temple University and then went on to become a math teacher at a charter school in West Philadelphia. But he was always in the restaurant business and started working as a dish washer at an Italian restaurant in Bryn Mawr, working his way up as a bus boy, server, bartender and finally becoming a chef. He opened up his own restaurant, Copper Bistro in Northern Liberties in 2005.
Earliest Cooking Memory: As long as I can remember, I was always cooking after school. My mom was working a lot and so I'd play around with food after school.
First Restaurant Experience Memory: I was petrified. People were angry and yelling a lot in the kitchen. I was a dish washer and I think I broke a stack of plates. I didn't think I would be able to make it in the industry.
Favorite Meal on the Menu at The Goat's Beard: The steak mac n' cheese. The beef is a 5-ounce sirloin steak from a local co-op farm paired with homemade potato gnocchi and cheeses.
What brought you to the industry?
My entire family was against me going into the business. My uncle was in the food and beverage industry and he didn't want me going into it either. But I realized this is what I wanted to do. I loved teaching but I got turned off by it after awhile—teaching should be about learning, not about making the grade. But I always found myself back in a restaurant. I took some time off after I closed my restaurant, but I'm back. This is who I am. This is me.
What are you looking forward to being back in the kitchen?
I'm excited to be back to cooking. I'm hoping to change the menu as much as possible to keep it fresh and to change it with the seasons.
How'd you partner up with Sean Coyle, of Bourbon Blue?
It's funny—we've always worked across the street from each other for like 15 years. Even at different restaurants, he was always at a restaurant down the stret from me. He also took some time off from the restaurant business and we started talking last year about working together. That's how we thought of The Goat's Beard.
So, what's with the name?
Sean's girlfriend actually thought of it. She told Sean about a native Pennsylvania plant named Aruncus Dioicus, also known as goat's beard. And the name kind of stuck.
What do you like best about the area?
I'm looking forward to bringing more of the dining scene back to Manayunk. It's still a beautiful town and located right on the water. I love it down here.
Plug: All the items on the menu are homemade and locally sourced from local farms and markets, including their drinks.