Chicago may be a ways from Ireland, but distance can't stifle our collective urge to embrace our inner Irish and celebrate St. Patrick's Day in style. By that I mean with Irish-inspired dishes and drinks, of course. Here's where to eat and drink to your heart's content this St. Patrick's Day.
Bar Toma (110 E Pearson St.)
It's Ireland by way of Italy by way of Chicago at Bar Toma. The mod Italian restaurant is getting into the Irish spirit this holiday weekend with St. Patrick's Day-inspired specials from March 14 through March 17. A collaboration between chef Tony Mantuano and chef de cuisine Erik Freeberg, specials include Lucky Charms gelato and green crust pizza made with melted leeks, spinach, and pistachio pesto. Also, with every green crust pizza purchase, guests get $1 mini glasses of Guinness.
R.J. Grunts (2056 N Lincoln Park West)
The burger of the month at R.J. Grunts has a distinct Irish accent. The Lincoln Park standby provides a unique way to think outside the reuben with its St. Patrick's-minded burger special, featuring a beef patty bedecked with Baileys aioli, cabbage slaw, whole-grain mustard, Jameson vinaigrette, Guinness cheddar cheese, and thin slices of Manny's Deli corned beef, all heaped atop a potato bun.
The Smoke Daddy (1804 W Division St.)
Another cool way to go beyond the reuben norm is with the sandwich special at The Smoke Daddy. A barbecue restaurant cooking up a riff on an Irish classic is a comfort food match made in heaven. Available March 16 through March 23, the sandwich is made with smoked corned beef that has been slow-cooked for several hours until tender, sliced thin and topped with coleslaw and melted Swiss cheese on toasted rye.
Tesori (65 E Adams St.)
Following its Italian-inspired roots, tesori's hearty menu gets a refresher as the restaurant prepares to kick off spring with the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle. Tesori is running a special family-style menu to celebrate the race. Enjoy tesori's Live Jazz Wednesdays and enjoy the atmosphere of the urban bar. With its chef-driven menu and seasonal wine list, tesori serves the best of Chicago every day, especially around St. Patrick's Day.
TWO (1132 W Grand Ave.)
Beef isn't the only thing prime for being corned. TWO exhibits its culinary dexterity with a special corned pork belly, on deck now through St. Patrick's Day. The luscious, bacon-y dish is served with coriander-braised cabbage, butter-poached potatoes, and stone-ground mustard jus.
Chicago q (1160 N Dearborn St.)
Pulled pork sandwiches provide just the stamina you need for a night of St. Patrick's Day barhopping. Chicago q to the rescue! The Gold Coast barbecue bastion is offering cash-and-carry pulled pork sandwiches for bar hoppers and parade-goers in the area, available for purchase from the patio between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on March 14. Bottled beverages and Irish Car Bomb cupcakes will also be available for purchase. Additionally, all weekend long and on March 17, Chicago q will offer a special house-corned beef dish served with Napa cabbage and fingerling potatoes for lunch and dinner.
more (1 E Delaware Place)
Don't forget dessert. And by that I mean the gorgeous chocolate-Guinness cupcakes at more, which manages to make Guinness look prettier than it's ever looked before.
Garrett Popcorn Shops (multiple locations)
Get in on one of Chicago's favorite snacking traditions and go green with Garrett Popcorn Shops. The popcorn shops' 1 Quart Green & Gold Tin will be available exclusively at the 625 North Michigan, 26 West Randolph, 4 East Madison, Millennium Park, Water Tower Place, and Navy Pier Shops through March 19. These 1 Quart Tins will be available at $12.95 for Signature Flavors and $16.95 for Specialty Flavors. Additionally, Garrett will be offering a St. Paddy's Day 12-Pack online at www.GarrettPopcorn.com, where fans can feast on delicious Garrett Mix® wrapped in adorable limited edition Quart Tins. Catch ‘em if you can, because when they're gone - they're gone!
Photos: Bar Toma, R.J. Grunts, The Smoke Daddy, TWO, Chicago q, more, Garrett Popcorn Shops