Restaurant News & Reviews

The Shamrock gets ready for St. Patrick’s Day

Shamrock owner Dave Stough is ready for St. Patrick’s Day. (March 12, 2014)
Shamrock owner Dave Stough is ready for St. Patrick’s Day. (March 12, 2014) The Wichita Eagle

After taking over the Shamrock – the well-known Delano bar at 1724 W. Douglas that’s been operating since 1933 – owner Dave Stough served his first St. Patrick’s Day feast.

It was 2003, and, to put it mildly, Stough had not yet perfected his recipes.

“The first year we cooked four corn beef roasts,” he said. “We overcooked the cabbage, and it sat heating all day. By the end of the day, it smelled horrible, and it took forever to get rid of it.”

Worse: The meat itself was so tough that when Stough thinks back to that day, all he can hear is the sound of plastic knives sawing away.

Eleven years later, things have changed. Not only is Stough’s annual corned-beef-and-cabbage dinner the hottest St. Patrick’s Day ticket in town, but his production has increased significantly. He now cooks 80 roasts, serves around 400 people and has fine-tuned his recipe so much that his mustard-crusted beef is known for its fall-apart tenderness and his cabbage renowned for its slow-simmered-in-beef-juice richness.

“This is a tradition,” Stough said. “It’s really been a wonderful thing how everyone has responded to it.”

The Shamrock will serve the traditional Irish meal in two stages on St. Patrick’s Day, which is Monday. Lunch starts at noon until the first round of food runs out. The second round starts at 6 p.m.

The $8 dinners include a serving of corned beef with horseradish and sour cream sauce plus Irish potatoes, bread and Irish butter. Green beer will be flowing, as will Irish whiskey, Stough said, and bagpipers will perform throughout the day.

St. Patrick’s Day, which Stough describes as “Black Friday for bars,” is his biggest day of the year, he said.

Right behind it, though, is the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, thanks to the popular St. Patrick’s Day Parade put on by the Historic Delano District, whose route is just a few blocks from Stough’s bar. St. Paddy’s Day celebrants will be streaming in all day Saturday, and Stough will have food for them, too.

The Shamrock will start at 9 a.m. with a special Irish breakfast featuring potatoes O’Brien, scrambled eggs and Guinness-infused sausage made by the new Douglas Avenue Chop Shop. (He also promises that “pre-parade lubrication” will be available.) The breakfast is $7 per person.

From 9:30 to 11 a.m., a 10-piece Celtic group will perform traditional tunes. The parade starts at noon, and at 1 p.m., the Shamrock will begin serving a special batch of Irish baked potato soup by the bowl for $5. The Wichita Highland bagpipers will be playing, and green beer and Irish whiskey will be flowing.

Also, at midnight on Sunday, the countdown clock posted on the Shamrock wall that tracks the days, hours, minutes and seconds until St. Patrick’s Day will turn to all zeroes, and Stough will have a special surprise for his customers who are present.

“It’s a blast,” Stough said. “Everyone works really hard, and we see people we never see who come in once a year for this.”

Two words of warning: The Shamrock is a 21-and-over-only establishment, even during daytime hours. And those who are in a rush on St. Patrick’s Day should know that there’s usually a bit of a wait for a seat.

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