Everybody in Chicago is Irish on St. Paddy’s Day, so it’s time for the wearing of the green! Kick it off with the time-honored dyeing of the Chicago River on Saturday, March 12 (10 am), then head over to Columbus Drive for the 12:15 pm kick-off of the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade, one of country’s largest. Then check out one of these spots for some creative Irish-themed food and drink — riffs on corned beef and cabbage, potatoes, brown bread, and green food abound. Can’t make it downtown on Saturday? You’re in luck (of course)! Many of the below are offering these specials all week — and a few will be around all month.
All Too Well
This Lebanese-inspired Lincoln Park sandwich shop is making a play for St. Patrick’s Day relevance with three hot takes for the holiday: a Corned Beef Sandwich ($10), Lamb Reuben Sandwich ($13), and Guinness Cheese Spread. Available on March 17 only.
It’s a party all month long at this South Loop spot. Look for The Reuben Stacker (8-oz. burger topped with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and homemade Louis dressing on a pretzel bun ($18) and the Lucky Leprechaun Shake ($8) made with Homer’s mint chocolate chip ice cream and chocolate sauce, topped with vanilla whipped cream and Lucky Charms.
You’ll discover a special menu of Irish food on offer March 11-17 at Columbus Tap at the Fairmont Hotel in the Loop. Choose from a perfect Reuben on marble rye, Bangers and Mash, Irish Nachos, Corned Beef & Cabbage, Shephard’s Pie, Shamrock Shakes, and more.
Get Lucky! Order the aptly named Epic Charms Shake ($4.99) at one of the seven Chicagoland locations of this small, local chain. It’s made with organic vanilla ice cream blended with Lucky Charms cereal and topped with a cloud of homemade whipped cream and sprinkled with still more Lucky Charms. Use promo code “LETSGETLUCKY” when ordering on the Epic Burger app for a free lucky charm of your own. (Available now through May 1)
Maybe not the first place you think of for Irish-themed food, but like I said, everybody is Irish on St. Paddy’s Day! Try the Corned Beef Osaka-style Okonomiyaki (Japanese cabbage pancake) with spicy mustard ($19) March 11 – March 17.
Goddess & Grocer
The Goddess’s Chef Alysha and her baking team are on top of every holiday, and offerings for St. Pat’s are as festive as you’ve come to expect from this local favorite. Look for decorated cupcakes and cake pops, and these adorable hand-decorated cookies of leprechauns, shamrocks, pots of gold, and the Irish flag with the local motto, “Kiss Me, I’m Chi-rish!”
This award-winning Evanston bakery is offering Beer Bread, Irish Soda Bread, Shamrock Cookies, Whiskey Caramel Whoopie Pie, and Corned Beef & Cabbage Handpies for the holiday. Preorder on Tock by 8 pm on March 10 for pickup on March 12 or 17 only. They will have limited items available for walk-ins on a first come, first-serve basis.
Prairie Grass Café
Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris always bring the yummy, but their St. Pat’s specials are next level. Crispy Irish Reuben Rolls ($14) stuffed with shredded corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese and served with homemade Thousand Island Dipping Sauce, Corned Beef and Cabbage ($26.50) with carrots, potatoes, and Bennison’s Bakery Irish soda bread, crispy Corned Beef Hash Patties ($24), and cans of Guinness ($8) are available for dine-in or carry out.
Robert’s Pizza & Dough Co.
Extend your celebration at Robert’s Pizza, where their holiday menu items will stick around from March 11-20. Drinks include the sinfully adult “G Fairy” Milkshake (brandy, vanilla ice cream, pistachio, and pistachio-mint whipped cream) and the Match This Aye! (Irish whiskey, matcha syrup, Bailey’s and Kahlua. I’ll save my calories for the St. Patty’s Pizza glossed with herby walnut-basil pesto, braised leeks, roasted red potatoes, mozzarella, and smoked prosciutto.
Stan’s Donuts and Coffee
Head to one of the 16 Stan’s locations in the Chicagoland area and start sipping on one of these four drinks to get you in the green mood: Green Mint Hot Chocolate, Irish Cream or Mint Cold Brew with Cold Foam, or a Mint Oreo Shake. You’ll need a special donut to dip in it, like a Chocolate Emerald of Chocolate Green Mint Dipped, Green River Glazed, or Irish Cream Bismark.
The Dearborn Tavern
Sisters Amy and Clodagh Lawless salute their Irish roots March 11-17 with specials like Shepherd’s Pie, Pork Belly Colcannon, house-made Corned Beef Reuben, Seafood Chowder, and the Fighting 69th Mule cocktail. On March 16 from 5 to 7 pm, stop by for a Guinness pint and get your personalized glass engraved!
Galway native Billy Lawless, owner of The Gage Irish gastropub on Michigan Avenue, toasts the restaurant’s 15th anniversary and St. Paddy’s Day with an expertly pulled pint of Guinness and some special menu items, including Smoked Haddock Cakes with Spicy Horseradish, “Not Your Grandma’s Colcannon” with whiskey-braised pork, truffled potatoes and cabbage, a killer Corned Beef Sandwich with Guinness-soaked Swiss cheese, pickled cabbage slaw & house-made remoulade, and more.
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Julie Chernoff, Better’s dining editor since its inception in 2007, graduated from Yale University with a degree in English — which she speaks fluently — and added a professional chef’s degree from the California Culinary Academy. She has worked for Boz Scaggs, Rick Bayless, and Wolfgang Puck (not all at the same time); and counts Northlight Theatre and Les Dames d’Escoffier International as two of her favorite nonprofits. She currently serves on the national board of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, an advocacy group addressing hunger issues in the U.S. and Israel for the nearly 46 million people — veterans, children, seniors, tribal nations, and more — who go to bed hungry every night.