9 Ways to Bring the Party to Your Restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day
Posted: Mar. 16, 2018
This Saturday isn’t just for fans of National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day, it’s one of the most celebrated holidays of the year: St. Patrick’s Day. An estimated 60% of Americans are planning to party on March 18—how is your restaurant or bar celebrating this cherished US holiday?
Below, check out nine ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day that keep the party going all weekend long.
This weekend, go green. Put up green decorations, create a green cocktail, offer green Jell-O shots, or add green food coloring to a dish (green hamburger buns?) for an epicurean surprise.
Dr. Seuss fans might have already thought of the most obvious breakfast choice—green eggs and ham. And avocado lovers can rejoice in the theme of green by topping dishes with slices of America’s most popular fruit (yes, avocados are a fruit).
With a little creativity, you can surprise and delights guests with the color of the day.
Serve Top Shelf
Cheap booze isn’t reserved for St. Patrick’s Day. Instead, invent new specialty cocktails made with your top-shelf liquor, like green Chartreuse. If you’re a whiskey bar, set up a tasting session of the Irish bottles for a low-key celebration that’s far from boring.
Lavu Pro Tip: Name your cocktails after the theme of the day, like the Leprechaun’s Kiss for a minty green martini or a Pot of Gold for honey-colored cocktails.
Focus on the Food
Alcohol tends to steal the spotlight on Saint Patrick’s Day, but the Irish are known for their traditional dishes, too. Focus on the food with upscale twists on classic Irish recipes like an elegant version of Shepherd’s pie with lamb, vegetables, rosemary, and Guinness. If you’re expecting large groups of friends, focus more on the quantity and serve shareable plates of nachos or potato cake.
Emphasize the food you are serving on a separate menu card and with a holiday discount.
On St. Patty’s Day, everybody is Irish!
St. Patrick’s Day is famous for beer, whiskey shots, and good-natured rowdiness. Irish pubs are the go-to destinations of choice for revelers, but just because your establishment might not be Irish doesn’t mean you can’t participate in the celebrations. Whether you're serving Italian, Thai, or Mexican food, you can create a hybrid special that honors your culinary style and the spirit of the holiday.
Italian restaurants—refashion the basics of Irish cooking with Mediterranean influences. One example: corned-beef-and-cabbage filled ravioli. If you’re predominately serving pizzas, try out an Irish-inspired pizza with toppings of potatoes, sausage and cabbage, and a drizzle of pesto cream sauce.
Mexican restaurants—offer bangers and mash (the colloquial name for a plate of sausage and mashed potatoes in the UK) inside of a taco. Or switch out the tequila in your margaritas for Jameson whiskey (also, this is the perfect opportunity to add a little green food coloring).
On March 18, everyone is Irish; have fun with the holiday and create a surprising special that infuses St. Patty’s Day into your restaurant’s style.
Set Up for the Early Birds
It’s never too early to start the party on St. Patrick’s Day. Breakfasts with an Irish theme will be highly welcomed by fans of the day, especially the big drinkers. With so much emphasis put on imbibing, a hearty breakfast is a wise decision. Here are some irresistible offerings:
- Dublin-fried chicken and waffles.
- Deconstructed shepherd’s pie on Texas toast.
- Bangers and mash with a side of fried eggs.
For the drinking set, offer an early bird special on Guinness or shots of whiskey in their coffee—your customers will love starting St. Patty’s with an Irish cup o’ joe.
Encourage Friendly Competitions
Does your business have a pool table or other games for guests to play with? Whether it’s Jenga or billiards, set up a friendly competition. Winners get a shot of Jameson on the house!
Offer Minty Freshness
Take the green theme of the day to the next level and offer minty refreshments or food:
- House-made mint whipped cream
- Chocolate-chip mint cookies
- Mint ice cream shakes
After a day of drinking and snacking, revelers will appreciate the revitalizing qualities of mint.
Go Back in Time
In the 19th century, St. Patrick’s Day was an important, festive holiday for Irish immigrants. It was the day to celebrate the Irish culture, reminisce about the Old Land, and an irrefutable excuse to drink all day without judgment.
If you’re looking for a different but authentic way to celebrate the holiday, dedicate this weekend to all things 1800s. Draw inspiration from New York-style bars, and serve what would have been on menus then: full Irish breakfasts of sausage and eggs, hot toddies, juleps, and old-fashioned punch bowls.
Lavu Pro Tip: To get into the full spirit of the theme, switch out your regular uniforms for costumes, or add simple 19th-century accessories to the existing dress code: men wear top hats and women wear bonnets.
Help with the Hangovers
Restaurants that serve brunch see a significant uptick in sales, and that’s no less likely to be the case this Sunday after St. Patrick’s Day. You can choose to continue the festivities with a day-party-style brunch or offer Irish-themed brunch specials for holiday partygoers nursing a hangover.
St. Patrick’s Day Facts
Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations are full of green, Guinness, and the wistful promise of finding the end of the rainbow:
- $5.9 billion is expected to be spent on St. Patrick’s Day.
- 83% of Americans plan to wear green.
- Beer sales rise 152% more on this holiday than any other day of the year.
- 819% more Guinness is consumed on Saint Patrick’s Day than any other day of the year.
- 45 pounds of dye are needed to turn the Chicago River green.
- 400,000 people are expected to visit the river and bear witness to its temporary hue.
- Every year, a crystal ball of shamrocks is gifted to the President of the United States.
- What’s the value of a leprechaun’s pot of gold (contains 1,000 one-ounce pieces of gold)? $1.3 million!
The fare for an Uber ride from Boston, Massachusetts to Dublin, Ohio is about $1,200—a small price compared to the steep fines and dangers of drunken driving. While you’re working the room, keep an eye out for guests that need a reminder to pocket their car keys and opt for walking or hailing a cab on their way out.
Posted: Mar. 16, 2018 | Written By: Emma Alois
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