13 Best Restaurants to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day This Year + Gift Ideas to Celebrate
Are you looking for somewhere to go to celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year? Or maybe you want to learn a little more about this fun holiday?
Whether it's drinking green beers while you listen to Irish music or eating corned beef and Irish Stew, there are plenty of restaurants to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
In this blog post, you'll learn the best restaurants to eat at for St. Patrick's Day as well as other ways to celebrate the holiday and St. Patrick's Day food.
Every year we celebrate St. Patrick's Day on March 17, but do you know why and where the holiday even originated? As you probably figured out that St. Patrick's Day has Irish roots.
March 17 is the anniversary of St. Patrick in the 5th century. The Irish have celebrated this day as a religious holiday more than 1,000 years. This holiday also occurs during Lent where people celebrating it are prohibited from eating certain foods.
So, you may be wondering who St. Patrick was. For starters, St. Patrick wasn't Irish but he found his true faith when he was taken prisoner by a band of Irish raiders. He spent six years in captivity in Ireland.
When he was alone and afraid, he turned to religion for comfort and relief. Eventually, he managed to escape and walked 200 miles to the Irish Coast where he was eventually able to flee home to Britain.
While he was back home, he had another revelation where an angel came to him in a dream telling him to come back to Ireland as a missionary. He went to school to be a priest and then returned to Ireland to minister to the Christians there.
He became so popular because he incorporated Traditional Irish rituals into his various lessons like using bonfires on Easter because they honored their Gods with fire.
St. Patrick also superimposed a sun - an important Irish symbol - onto a Christian cross. This cross became the Celtic cross.
While he was known as the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick was never actually canonized by the Catholic Church as they had no such formal process. He was proclaimed a saint by the Irish people because of his popularity in Ireland.
Thousands of Irish Americans everywhere gather with their families to celebrate this holiday and eat corned beef and cabbage.
But corned beef didn't become a St. Patrick's Day traditional food until the 20th century when Irish immigrants in New York City substituted corned beef for Irish bacon. This substitution became a tradition because it was less expensive than the Irish bacon.
But you won't find people in Ireland dining on a classic corned beef sandwich, cabbage, or even green beer drafts. The most popular Irish foods to eat on St. Patrick's Day in Ireland are slow-cooked lamb or beef stews. These are often served with traditional colcannon or butter mashed potatoes with cabbage folded in.
There's nothing better than a slow-cooked Irish beef stew with buttery potatoes and cabbage!
Irish soda bread is another favorite Irish dish and it's usually made with a cross-cut in the center. But you won't find the caraway seeds or raisings that are found in American soda bread recipes.
St. Patrick's Day is focused on going to mass and then there are some parades, but generally, the day focuses on people spending time with family and friends enjoying traditional Irish food. And as far as drinking goes, Irish people may drink a few traditional Irish beers like Guinness and they'll probably have a round or two of Irish whiskeys.
So, if you want to eat real traditional Irish grub, a hot corned beef sandwich won't cut it. However, since it's made its way into the list of Irish dishes that Americans eat every St. Patrick's day, it's okay for traditions to change over time depending on what's available and inexpensive to eat.
Besides going to restaurants or an Irish pub for St. Patrick's Day, you can make it a day to give presents. One of the best gifts for St. Patrick's Day is a gift card.
You could give your loved one or friend a gift card to a restaurant like McAlister's that celebrates the day with two popular holiday specials. You can order a Reuben Spud or Green Tea. Or you could get one to Bruegger's Bagels because they celebrate the day with green bagels.
Gift Card Granny has gift cards to many popular brands so we know you'll find the perfect one for your St. Patrick's Day gift.
You could also get a present from ShamrockGift.com, a company that sells quality Irish gifts. They have sweaters, cable knit throws, and more.
Amazon also has great presents like shamrock LED light-up headbands, t-shirts, candles, and more.
Here are some of the best restaurants to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
McDonald's is known for their famous McCafe Shamrock Shakes that they only offer once a year in March to celebrate the holiday. This mint-flavored shake has layers of chocolate that pair well with the mint.
They also offer a Chocolate Shamrock Shake, Shamrock Chocolate Chip Frappe, Shamrock Mocha, and Shamrock Hot Chocolate.
If you're in the Southeast of the U.S. around St. Patrick's Day, the Hickory Tavern often offers a free appetizer like Chips & Queso. In the past, they've also had a special cocktail in the adult version of the shamrock shake - a vanilla milkshake with three different kinds of rum.
They also offer a corned beef & cabbage special all day on St. Patrick's day.
We've already mentioned the green bagels that this restaurant offers for a couple of days around St. Patrick's Day. Bruegger's kettle boils them and then bakes the bagels in small batches to ensure their freshness.
This chain restaurant is known for the waffle sandwiches and they make a Get Lucky Fried Chicken Sandwich to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. They gave their traditional fried chicken and waffle sandwich an Irish twist. Guest can also eat their fresh mint shake and popular Irish Nachos the week of St. Patrick's Day.
Flour & Barley, the popular pizza restaurant in San Diego, Waikiki, Hawaii, and Las Vegas, celebrates the Irish holiday with a Luck of the Irish Pie. This pizza includes corned beef, sausage, Brussel sprouts, and potato with a pesto cream sauce.
As we mentioned above, McAlister's has two holiday specials. If you wear green you get a free green tea and the St. Patrick's Day Reuben Spud. This potato is baked in the oven and topped with sauerkraut, swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing, and corned beef.
If you live in New York City, one of the best restaurants to celebrate St. Patrick's Day is this old alehouse. Founded in 1854, it's the oldest alehouse in New York City and has sawdust floors. It stays authentic during the holiday offering just two beer specials - McSorley's Dark Ale and McSorley's Light Ale.
Qdoba is a popular Mexican restaurant chain offering Green Tobasco Flavored Queso during the month of March. Qdoba blends this spicy flavor into their famous three-cheese Queso that you can add for free to any of their entrees.
Lumberjacks is a West Coast restaurant chain with a limited-time offer around St. Patrick's Day. They're offering a homemade corned beef platter with cabbage just for the holiday.
The TGI Fridays restaurant chain has two specials for St. Patrick's Day - green beers and You Call It cocktails with Jameson. The special is only available on St. Patrick's Day.
The Tilted Kilt Chain has an Irish Hooley menu throughout the month of March. They have several drink specials like the Belfast Bloom made with Baileys Irish Cream, Guinness, and Jameson Irish Whiskey, The Irish Slammer made with Guinness and RumChata, and more.
Their holiday food menu includes corned beef and cabbage that you can get with eggs or not, a cornedbeef sandwich special on a toasted hoagie, and Irish chip dip made with horseradish and cold corned beef.
Dunkin' Donuts is one of the most popular breakfast restaurants in the nation and you can get a Shamrock Sprinkle Donut topped with fun shamrock sprinkles.
Three Brothers Bakery is based in Texas and has a variety of holiday specials that make it one of the many great restaurants to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. You can get a Louisiana-styled St. Patrick's Day King Cake filled with fruit or cream cheese. it's topped with white icing and dusted with light and dark green sanding sugar.
You may also see a selection of cupcakes and cookies.
Final Thoughts on Restaurants to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day
Now that you know a little bit about the history of this holiday and what restaurants to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, you can observe the holiday with gifts and a night out. If you have Irish relatives, a quiet St. Patrick's Day at home with a delicious slow-cooked roast may be the best way to celebrate.
Whatever you choose to do, remember the holiday is all about spending more time with your family and friends and honoring St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.