St. Patrick's Day Dining and Drinking Guide
Everyone's a little bit Irish on St. Patrick's Day. Or so we tell ourselves as we dress up in Kermit-green attire and binge on corned beef and whiskey from morning until the wee hours of the night. One of the most roucous holidays of the year, St. Patrick's Day may not have the same foodie acclaim as, say, Thanksgiving, but it does still deserve some culinary cred, what with its proclivity for corned beef, potatoes, sausages, and other guttural comforts. It's one of the last indulgent hurrahs before spring settles in and we all collectively have to get our act together and start acknowledging that bathing suit season is not far off. So before that happens, here's your guide to some surefire spots for dining and drinking in Chicago this St. Patrick's Day weekend.
(Bottlefork's bacon burger should be in your mouth this weekend)
Braised beef cheek poutine and bacon burgers are a sampling of some of the salacious, can't-miss eats taking place at Bottlefork on Saturday, March 15. Opening early at noon, the beverage-focused restaurant cheffed by the dexterous Kevin Hickey embraces its inner Irishman with specials such as the aforementioned poutine and burger, plus a soft-serve Shami Sundae with a "whiskey surprise," Guinness, and of course a corned beef and cabbage sandwich on an Irish roll with Irish chips.
Here's a novel idea: combine lobster and corned beef for one of the wildest interpretations of surf & turf ever. It's all going down at Da Lobsta, where the St. Patty's Day Roll is a holiday special made with lobster, corned beef, and spicy pickle relish. They're available at both locations on St. Patrick's Day.
Food, music, and frivolity converge in true Irish-style at The Dawson on March 15. Starting early at 10:00 a.m., the sprawling West Town restaurant will feature a live band playing all day, food specials such as corned beef, and a Green St. Paddy's Day Drip cocktail made with Irish whiskey and Green Chartreuse. As an added bonus, the massive 150-seat patio will open for the first time, bedecked with a bar, stone fireplace, and a lounge area. Irish coffee, Guinness, and shots will be available on the patio as specials.
The recently opened SideDoor dives right into the St. Patrick's Day fray with cocktails, corned beef, and cheesecake. For starters, sip on the St. Pat's Day cocktail with Jameson, Green Chartreuse, Koval ginger liqueur, lemon juice, and mint, then move on to corned beef and cabbage with red skin potatoes and some lamb cigars. For dessert, there's Bailey's cheesecake. All of this goodness is available March 14 through March 17.
The only thing better than a little bit of whiskey is a flight of whiskey. Get thee to Lockwood this St. Patrick's Day for a flight of various aged Jamesons, then chase it with some corned beef brisket, served with braised cabbage, parsley-flecked potatoes, horseradish cream, and Irish soda bread. There's also fish and chips for the nautically inclined, and Guinness ice cream for dessert.
Sunday supper at Vie takes a turn towards Ireland on March 16. The second annual St. Pat's fete celebrates Ireland in all its beefy, smoky glory with a familial feast prepared by Paul Virant. There's smoked trout with brown bread, corned beef with smashed potatoes, smoked pork with spiced cabbage, housemade stout beer mustard, and shamrock sugar cookies to finish. The cost is $40 per person and reservations can be made by calling 708-246-2082.
A chic Champagne parlor is probably not the first place you'd turn for St. Patrick's Day antics, but RM Champagne Salon is not above a little festive fun. All weekend long, the bubbly bar is shaking up Irish Exit cocktails, a special elixir made with lemon juice, Licor 43, Mint Meritage tea, Bushmill's, and mint.
Three words for you that will change your life: corned beef flatbreads. It's happening at FAME on March 15, wherein the Division Street barstaurant opens its doors at noon to fill stomachs with Irish-inspired flatbreads and Guinness paired with "Irish FAME" shots of Jameson mixed with Irish cream liqueur. There will also be a DJ spinning tunes, just as St. Patrick would have wanted.
There's just something homey and comforting about spending an indulgent holiday pigging out at R.J. Grunts, one of the cozy progenitors of the Lettuce Entertain You empire. Available all weekend long, Reuben sandwiches come heaped with corned beef, gooey Swiss, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing, pressed between two slices of aromatic toasted rye bread. It's simple, delicious, and classic at its finest.
- Matt Kirouac