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Dublin Pub general manager Jordan Blevins pours a Guinness at the bar.
By Courtney Westlake | CORRESPONDENT
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A taste of Ireland
By Courtney Westlake

For D'Arcy's Pint and Dublin Pub, St. Patrick's Day is a marquee event.

At Dublin Pub, even the staple horseshoe isn't safe from the annual celebration.

Forget the original white, yellow and even the new pepper-jack cheese sauces.

"Around St. Patrick's Day, we have a special Guinness cheese sauce for our horseshoes," said Jordan Blevins, general manager of Dublin Pub.Dublin Pub's motto - "Come for the blarney, stay for the food" - is never truer than on St. Patrick's Day. For Irish-themed restaurants in town, a fair share of both food and celebration are served up during the month of March.

"We get extremely slammed," Blevins said, adding that the pub has certain Irish dishes on special around the holiday.

"Our shepherd's pie is an English/Irish dish that is a mix of meat and mashed potatoes with mozzarella cheese and paprika on top," Blevins said. "Our corned beef and cabbage is served with red potatoes. And the Reuben has been a big seller."

From breakfast to supperFor D'Arcy's Pint, the St. Patrick's Day celebration begins at 7 a.m. with a breakfast buffet that has been offered for 12 years. Sports Radio host Sam Madonia broadcasts live from the restaurant, chatting with patrons on the air. Hallie Pierceall, co-owner of D'Arcy's, estimates that more than 1,000 people come through the doors on St. Patrick's Day. 

Breakfast consists of Irish dishes like corned beef hash, as well as other brunch staples such as egg casserole, pastries and fresh fruit. The lunch menu is brought out at 11 a.m.

"We have a specific menu for St. Patrick's Day and offer all our Irish specialties: shepherd's pie, corned beef and cabbage, Reubens," Pierceall said. "We have a limited regular menu in order to include our Irish items."D'Arcy's offers both traditional Irish fare and Irish dishes with a twist. D'Arcy's serves its corned beef and cabbage with Irish mashed potatoes instead of traditional new red potatoes, Pierceall said. There are even some Irish versions of the horseshoe, with Reuben and Irish bacon options.

The restaurant's recipe for Guinness oysters, however, came straight from Ireland itself, given to Pierceall by a fellow restaurant owner in Killarney. 

A big draw for the Springfield Irish is the D'Arcy's boxty, a gently seasoned potato pancake stuffed with special ingredients and cooked on a griddle. The restaurant serves up a corned beef and cabbage boxty as well as a rashers and cabbage variety, with traditional Irish bacon and buttered cabbage stuffed in a potato boxty.

The Irish food and St. Patrick's Day celebration have proved successful for D'Arcy's.

"It's grown a little every year; it depends on the day of the week, too. Being on a Thursday this year, we expect to be pretty busy," Pierceall said.

"A lot of other bars and restaurants celebrate on parade day or the closest weekend, so it sets us apart to celebrate on the actual St. Patrick's Day. We also offer Irish specialties and beer specials on parade day. We tend to get a lot of people after the parade who come in to get a bite to eat."

You can drink to thatWho can pass up a good meal of corned beef and cabbage without an accompanying beverage?

Both Dublin Pub and D'Arcy's serve three Irish beers year-round: Smithwick's, Harp and Guinness. Guinness is a top choice regardless the time of year, Blevins said, and during St. Patrick's Day festivities, Dublin Pub has Guinness on special.

Blevins said other drinks that feature Guinness also are popular with Dublin Pub customers, such as Black and Blue (Guinness and Blue Moon) and Half and Half (Guinness and Harp).

Varieties of Guinness drinks also are popular at D'Arcy's, which caters to its customers' desire for color.

"We also do green beer upon request. There are still a lot of people who like green beer," Pierceall said. "Irish coffees are also big."

D'Arcy's plays Irish music over the restaurant sound system and hires bagpipers to play for customers a couple of times over the course of the day.

If you're in the mood for more live music after a lively bagpipe concert, head over to Dublin Pub.

"We're thinking about getting an Irish band in here," Blevins said. "We've been getting bands in here to play more often, so we'll definitely have some live music on St. Patrick's Day."

As many have found, hearty food and flowing ale aren't just a celebration for the Irish around these parts.

"St. Patrick's Day is a holiday that, whether you're Irish or not, people like to celebrate it," Pierceall said.

"It's a stress-free holiday, and a lot of people have cabin fever from the winter, so they want to get out. It's one of those holidays when people are in a good mood and have fun." n


Story published Friday, March 4, 2011 ( Volume 6, Number 2 )

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