March 17, 2011

Kelleher's Irish Pub & Eatery

By Eric Shangraw

March 17, 2011 Updated Mar 17, 2011 at 6:48 PM CDT

St. Patrick's Day is a celebration of everything Irish.

It is the biggest day of the year for one Peoria restaurant.

Eric Shangraw is having lunch at Kelleher's Irish Pub in this week's You Gotta Eat.

Kelleher's on St. Paddy's Day expands itself times four with added tents to handle the crowd. It was a full house at 9:30 St. Patrick's Day morning. Many customers coming in for breakfast and a beverage to kick off the festivities. It was a long walk just to get to the front door.

For owner Pat Sullivan, this is celebrating Irish heritage.

"The Americans actually made it big. And our ancestors would be proud," said Sullivan. "It is just a great day for Peoria. This is one of the largest parties in downstate Illinois," he said.

"The biggest thing about Kelleher's is the big draw is everyone is Irish at Kelleher's," said customer Cameron Fields. "I'm the most Irish person I know so I have to come out on St. Paddy's day and come out here and bring my friends with me. So they can enjoy it as much as I do," he said.

"We used to do this in college," said Megan Gaidos. "Get up and go and start drinking at 8am on St. Pat's Day. So we are continuing our college tradition," she said.

Kelleher's cooks 2,000 pounds of corned beef over the course of a week to prepare for the mighty leprechaun appetite. Ten-thousand customers are expected during the 20 hours they're open. They boil the vegetables and meat together to help tenderize the meat and add flavor.

Photographer Larry Faulk and I had the corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. The corned beef is fork tender. Perfectly flavored. The spuds and cabbage also smartly prepared. It makes a fine meal any day of the year. Our bill with non-alcoholic drinks; $27.56. A bargain by any ethnic standard.

Kelleher's is open six days a week. Closed on Sundays. Besides St. Patrick's Day, the corn beef and cabbage is only on the menu the third Saturday of each month.

Kellerher's Irish Pub & Eatery
619 SW Water St.

Mon-Wed 11am-12am
Thu-Sat 11am-2am

Kitchen Open
Mon-Sat 11am

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