The Reagan family dinner scenes are typically one of the most popular scenes on any given episode of the hit CBS drama “Blue Bloods.”
While it might seem like a simple thing to film a television family sitting down to share a dinner together, the opposite is actually true.
In fact, each dinner scene on “Blue Bloods” takes hours of preparation before the actors even get to the set. Once filming begins, hours and hours of more work go into making sure the scene provides all the drama and exposition the episode requires.
Details about filming these scenes were shared by Jim Lillis during a 2015 interview with The Virginian-Pilot. At that time, Lillis was the property master on “Blue Bloods.”
One question he answered was whether or not the cast of the show had a hand in selecting the menu for the family dinner scenes. The answer is no. The menu was actually decided by Lillis and the writers of the show.
They were assisted by the restaurant that was hired to provide the food used on the show. That restaurant was The BeeHive Oven. It was located in Brooklyn and owned by John and Treva Chadwell.
Menu on ‘Blue Bloods’ Influenced by Reagan Family’s Irish-American Heritage
In choosing the menu, Lillis and others keep the Reagans’ family heritage in mind. As fans of the show are aware, the family is of Irish-American descent. So, what they eat on the show is in keeping with that heritage. It’s a menu that Lillis is very familiar with thanks to his own upbringing.
“It’s usually a pot roast, maybe meatloaf, roast chicken with some version of potatoes. Green vegetables. Always dinner rolls,” he said of the “Blue Bloods” menu. “That basically is my mother’s menu, the one I grew up with because I’m also Irish-Catholic.”
Even so, the Reagan family does branch out to other types of food now and then. They have been seen eating a lot of Italian food in the show. This includes meatballs, spaghetti, and lasagna. Once when meatballs were on the table, The BeeHive Oven had to prepare hundreds of them for the scene.
“We made enough meatballs for the nine actors to each do 20 takes,” John Chadwell told the publication.
While the menu is not decided by the cast, Lillis and others do take the actors’ preferences into consideration when possible on the set of “Blue Bloods.”
For instance, Lillis said he was well aware that star Tom Selleck prefers steak and potatoes. Also, Sami Gayle didn’t like to eat red meat. Donnie Wahlberg has said that eating vegetables gave him gas while filming. And, Will Estes doesn’t like to eat turkey.
Also, many of the cast members appear to be drinking red wine in the family dinner scenes. Turns out, they are actually drinking grape juice.
Filming of the dinner scenes usually begins around 9 a.m. The food for the scene typically gets to the set two hours before.