Five years ago, Casey O’Conors owner Rob Burns decided to step out on his own and take charge.
“I wanted to make it on my own and do my own thing and not answer to anyone but myself,” he said.
Since then, while he said it hasn’t always been easy, he loves working and serving in Mansfield. Burns said he had a number of different occupations before purchasing the restaurant, including 15 years as a disc jockey, bartender and company management and stabilization.
He said starting out was rather rocky in figuring out the menu.
“It was a little bit of trial and error,” he said. “You have to remember what you necessarily like and think is great isn’t always what the mass population likes. You could tell though everyone like the shepherds pie.”
Burns said that he’s learned that the quality of every ingredient in a recipe is as important as how they’re put together.
“One of the things that drove me was going to different restaurants and not being happy and knowing what needed to done to have a better presentation and a better quality of food,” he said. “Take baked stuffed shrimp. Anybody can do a baked stuffed shrimp. Special attention needs to be given to the stuffing. You can have the best shrimp in the world but if the stuffing’s terrible you’re going to have a terrible product.”
Burns is no stranger to seafood. His New England clam chowder won the 2012 soup and chowder competition sponsored by the Mansfield Music and Arts Society. He said his mother was from Nova Scotia, as well as his father’s parents.
“I think just added to my love for seafood, being around it so much,” he said.
He said customer response is essential to crafting a worthwhile menu. He personally goes out and delivers food to his customers on occasion and also tends the bar when he wants.
“I’m usually talking to the customers,” he said.
He said he sometimes sees or tries something at other restaurants and he works on them for Casey’s.
“Some of the items of the menu formed when we vacationed down in Newport saw an app or item that we like and bring it or some variation of it over to our menu,” he said.
Burns also books full bands at the restaurant, which is rare in a restaurant. He hosted such acts as the Nashville-based act the Greg Burroughs Band and locals the Galley Dogs.
“It’s a niche for live music that didn’t exist in Mansfield before,” he said. “I was a disc jockey for 15 years… I’ve been around clubs and entertainment.”
Burns said he’s developed relationships with his customers and regulars over the years. He said it has been a unique experience.
“I’ve met a good base of good quality people that I wouldn’t have met if I didn’t open this place,” he said.