Dine Well on St. Patrick’s Day

07 Feb 2022

Area restaurants celebrate Irish food traditions


Green dye is commonly dumped into the Chicago River so the Windy City can enjoy a bright shade of green, but nothing brightens an area like the great food selections that the Sandhills serves on St. Patrick’s Day (and even before and after). Several restaurants and pubs celebrate by giving away shirts and other prizes, but the best offering is always the food. The beer of choice is usually Guinness, a dark Irish dry stout brewed in Dublin since 1759.

St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most popular celebrations for food and drink in the Sandhills. All eyes are on Pinehurst because of its long-standing parade begun by Alan Riley of Dugan’s Pub in 1990 and now hosted by the Village of Pinehurst.

The pub typically serves corned beef and cabbage as well as its famous potato leek soup. “All our recipes are authentic,” says Riley who draws on his family history for the food that he prepares. “My dad was born in Ireland, my mom in Scotland, and I was born in the U.K.,” he adds.

Drum & Quill often extends its St. Patrick’s celebration to five days. Guinness stew as well as corned beef and cabbage are usually on the menu along with Irish Mule, Pot o’ Gold, and other Irish drinks.

If you are a member of Pinehurst Country Club, expect a dinner special of corned beef and cabbage, Yukon gold potatoes, and mustard cream in Laddie’s Court for dine in or to go. A special dinner appetizer of leprechaun legs (OK, they’re really sauteed frog legs) served over saffron rice may also be available.

Other local restaurants also step up to celebrate with food on St. Patrick’s Day that with appropriate licenses may include Irish beer, whiskey, and coffee specials.

Mason’s Restaurant & Grocery in downtown Aberdeen often prepares corned beef hash and eggs with potatoes, onions, and biscuit or toast. Its creativity also extends to making hot pastrami poutine: fresh cut fries, gravy, pastrami, and cheese sauce.

Just around the corner at neighboring The Workshop Tavern, a corned beef plate with cabbage and red potatoes pairs well with Guinness, Jameson and other Irish whiskeys, and Paddy’s Flip, a featured cocktail. Pray tell, what are Irish car bombs that the mixologist serves?

Expect Legacy Golf Links to have several specials such as Reuben egg rolls; traditional corned beef, cabbage, potato, and carrot plates; thick sliced corned beef on sourdough bread with Guinness mustard; and even “Irish nachos” – thick-cut fries, Guinness beer cheese, and crispy corned beef ends.

On the outskirts of Aberdeen, Lynette’s Bakery and Cafe tempts everyone’s sweet tooth. Its Irish-inspired treats last year were Guinness salted bacon and salted caramel cupcakes, non-alcoholic Irish cream cupcakes, and lucky charm marshmallow cookies.

In downtown Southern Pines, several restaurants such as Beefeaters, Scott’s Table, Bell Tree Tavern, 715 Bar & Grill, and Sizzlin’ Steak or Eggs usually contribute to the festivities by serving corned beef and cabbage with potatoes.

The Bell Tree Tavern often even celebrates St. Patrick’s Day for up to three days with specials on Guinness, Irish whiskey, and Irish coffees.

Beefeaters also takes the culinary imagination to a high level with other inspired dishes such as Jameson-breaded cod over colcannon (Irish mashed potatoes mixed with greens and scallions and lots of butter and cream). For dessert, who can resist creme de menthe cheesecake?

To accompany its corned beef, Chapman’s Food & Spirits adds a creative touch by substituting cabbage with another leafy green vegetable such as Brussel sprouts.

In additional to the traditional Irish fare served at The Sly Fox Pub, a slice of its Guinness and Bailey’s cake is the perfect way to end a meal.

Do you have more thoughts of dessert? Perhaps Thyme & Place Cafe is featuring its Guinness chocolate cake again this year.

A one-day special at the Roast is house-cured corned beef, special brownie stout mustard, and fontina fonduta on rye bread with caraway seeds by The Bakehouse.

Even the Railroad Deli in Vass joins the celebration with corned beef and cabbage soup.

In addition to enjoying the special menu selections of area restaurants, consider two popular outings planned by Weymouth Center and Given Memorial Library.

A new tradition at Weymouth Center is continuing again this year as they "Shamrock the House!” on March 12 with a St. Paddy’s Day Warmup dinner and celebration. Dinner will be catered by Broad Street Bakery & Café and is available to pick up and go, or to stay and picnic while you enjoy traditional Irish music. (Bring your lawn chairs and your own beverage if you choose to stay)

Purchase tickets at weymouthcenter.org at least five days in advance. Boxes are available for pickup at the event between 5 and 6:30 p.m. The dinner includes all the traditional items: corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, Irish soda bread, and a dessert. Bev Reynolds, event chair, observes that this weekend is a marvelous time to enjoy the daffodils and camellias as you stroll around the 26 acres of Weymouth’s grounds.

Given teams up with Elliott’s on Linden and presents a St. Patrick’s Day To-Go on March 12. The menu last year was braised corned beef with roasted cabbage, beer and mustard sauce, and Guinness mustard. Rounding out the box was colcannon (mashed Yukon gold potatoes with kale). Ticket sales usually end five days in advance. To pre-purchase a meal, call the library at 910-295-3642.

Although the St. Patrick’s parade in Pinehurst was cancelled in 2020 as well as 2021, plans are well underway for it to return this year. Because this article was written in advance of St. Patrick’s Day, check in with your favorite place and verify the menu specials. Sláinte!

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