Super Senior: Pat Brennan

Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 2:36 PM EDT
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ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) - What’s a fair without food? Pat Brennan and his dad Tom started The Bloomin’ Onion in 1993. It’s an easy menu remember - just a deep-fried whole onion with a side of special sauce.

“If you don’t prep them right, they don’t come out right,” Brennan said.

It’s a caloric heavyweight, coming in at almost 1,900 calories. When a newspaper reported that number, sales went up. “You’re at the fair, you’re not worried about calories for sure,” Brennan said.

Ten-year-old Raegan Brennan has moved up from behind the scenes to the counter, making her the fourth generation to work at the business.

“She says, ‘Oh look, grandpa is actually calling out a number for once,’” said Hannah Isham, a worker at the stand.

“For once, I called my share of numbers out, missy,” Brennan said.

Tens of thousands of the crispy creations later, the business is in for a change. After starting 30 years ago with his dad, the former state representative from Colchester will start to take summers off at the end of this season. “This is my last hurrah here, yeah,” he said. The 70-year-old is selling the stand to Dave Schiefilliti and his partner Hannah Isham. Three years ago, Brennan approached Schiefilliti about purchasing the business after a tasty offer. He says the days are long and the onion bags are heavy. “They still weigh 50 pounds. For me, they weigh 100 pounds. That’s when you know to call it a day.”

“Yup, I’ve learned from the master the last 15 years,” Schiefilliti said. “He’ll be around for sure, he’ll be checking up on me.”

And 10-year-old Raegan has been invited back next year. “She’s proud, she’s proud of herself,” Brennan said.

The day is turning into twilight. It’s the final stretch for Brennan, who started the day at 7 a.m. and will end at 11.

The tasty treat will be back next year, just without a familiar face. “I’m going to miss seeing the people,” Brennan said.