Regardless of whether your restaurant or bar is Irish, you should have a St. Patrick's Day menu ready for March 17. Diners will be out in droves to eat, drink, and celebrate while sporting their best and brightest green outfits. What will you have to offer them? To inspire you, here are some cool ideas for creating memorable St. Patrick's Day menu specials that will have your guests raving.
Go Green or Go Home
An easy way to score big with guests on St. Patrick's Day is to offer plenty of green foods and drinks. If your establishment serves breakfast, why not cook up some green eggs and Irish ham? You can turn your eggs green by adding a handful of chopped fresh herbs or simply whisking in a little blue food coloring.
You can also rely on other green goodies, like cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, kiwis, kale, and your favorite herbs, to create eye-catching sauces, salads, appetizers, and drinks that are ideal for St. Patrick's Day. A green smoothie is also an obvious addition if your restaurant's open for breakfast or lunch. And cocktail specials featuring creme de menthe, absinthe, Midori melon liqueur, and herb-infused spirits will be easy sells for bartenders all night. Just make sure to coin some clever names for your creations—"Shamrock Smoothie" or "Leprechaun Liquor," anyone?
Just Add Guinness (or Whiskey)
St. Patrick's Day is a big drinking holiday, so your bar will be busy serving Irish staples like Guinness stout beer and potent Irish whiskeys. But savvy chefs can also utilize these boozy beverages in their dishes.
Consider serving a special cut of steak with a savory reduction of Guinness, beef stock, and lots of fresh-cracked black pepper. If you're making a gourmet chili, give it a big pour of whiskey while it simmers. Guinness also lends itself to hearty soups and stews, like a beer and cheese soup (try making one with Kerrygold Irish Cheddar).
Irish-Style Burgers and Sandwiches
Any St. Patrick's Day menu will benefit from the addition of a strategic burger or sandwich. The trick is to come up with custom creations that feature Irish elements and colors that are representative of the holiday.
Consider making burger patties that consist of ground beef mixed with the meat from Irish banger sausages or chopped corned beef. You can even add a splash of Guinness or another Irish beer to the meat blend. Finally, melt Skellig cheese (named after the Irish Skelligs Islands) on top and you're good to go. Some whiskey-caramelized onions wouldn't hurt the cause, either.
Sandwich-wise, you can't go wrong serving tender corned beef that's piled high on rye bread and topped with braised cabbage and Irish mustard.
Don't Forget the Potatoes
Potatoes are popular year-round, and they'll absolutely enhance a St. Patrick's Day menu. Make an Irish-style poutine with hand-cut fries, melted Irish cheese curds, and Guinness gravy. Or you could serve up "Irish" potato skins, topped with chopped scallions, sour cream, and melted cheese to resemble the colors of the Irish flag.
In the end, it's all about combining quality ingredients with fun, playful twists that play into the theme of the holiday. Let your creativity shine, and your St. Patrick's Day menu will bring big crowds to your restaurant or bar on March 17.