Group of happy friends drinking and toasting beer at brewery bar restaurant

Restaurant Review: St. Paddy’s Day, Part 2 at Avondale’s Chief O’Neill’s Pub and Restaurant

Group of happy friends drinking and toasting beer at brewery bar restaurant

While the parades and river-dyeing might be over, there’s still plenty of celebrating in Chicago for the ‘second wave’ of St. Patrick’s Day this weekend. After all, Friday, March 17 is the ‘official’ day of celebration for all! 

One pub going all-out is Avondale’s Chief O’Neill’s Pub and Restaurant,at the corner of Roscoe and Elston. Open since 2000, it has been called the best Irish pub in Chicago, according to Choose Chicago, and has previously been voted as one of the 10 best in the entire world. As their slogan says, it’s the “The Pub You’ve Been Practicing For.”

Yes, there was a real Chief O’Neill

According to the Chicago Bar Project, Daniel Francis O’Neill wad born in Tralibane, County Cork, Ireland in 1848. “O’Neill was a free spirit, heavily influenced by the traveling musicians that took up lodging in his childhood home. After a falling out with the local church, O’Neill became a cabin boy on an English ship, eventually coming to Chicago and becoming a policeman.” He worked his way through the ranks to become the General Superintendent of Police in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. A music aficionado who “saved Irish music” by collecting over 2,000 tunes in manuscript, O’Neill also developed a network of musicians and found jobs on the force for the best pipers.

The Food… Good?

Chief O’Neill’s incorporates both Harp, the light Irish lager, and Guinness, the Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James’s Gate, Dublin, Ireland, in 1759, in many of their dishes. Try their tangy Guinness & Cheddar Soup in a cup or bowl for a hearty start. Or, their Galway Bay Mussels, which starts offwith Prince Edward Island (PEI) Mussels, served with a shallot, garlic, and white wine cream sauce on ciabatta toast points. For a sweet/meaty mix, try their Banger and Apple, a salad of  mixed greens, baby spinach,  crispy bangers, apples, grapes, curried walnuts, goat cheese, and curry dressing. 

Keep with your Irish experience in the entrée round with Emerald Isle Favoritessuch as Fish & Chips withHarp-battered cod, mushy peas, coleslaw, tartar sauce and fries. Shepherd’s Pie with ground veal and sirloin, carrots, peas, rosemary and thyme, served with gluten-free browned mashed potatoes. Steak & Guinness Pie has Angus chuck, root vegetables Yukon gold potatoes, and stout gravy in a puff pastry. 

Restaurant Guru’s reviewers were highly complimentary:

“Great place to have a party, the nicest staff ever!” wrote one just recently. “Dine-in or out. The Bangers and Mash is my friend’s favorite and mine was the Shepherd’s pie which also was outstanding.“

“Bangers and Mash – delicious!”

Mrs. O’Neill’s Second Floor Parlor

For a more private dining experience, Chief O’Neill’s opened Mrs. O’Neill’s Parlor L While seating times are very limited, Mrs. O’Neill’s is serving a $40-per person Grand Emerald Isle Buffet, featuring Fish & Chips, Corned Beef & Cabbage, Shepherd’s Pie, Irish Chicken Curry, salads and dessert.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this Friday… 

Continue the celebration on Friday, March 17 starting at 10am with such ala carte selections as Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner, Shepherd’s Pie, Bangers and Mash, and Irish Chicken Curry

Chief O’Neill’s also serves a well-reviewed Sunday brunch. For details, click here

Chief O’Neill’s is located at 3471 N. Elston Avenue. They are open Wednesdays-Thursdays; 4pm-11pm, Fridays and Saturdays, 4pm- 1am, and Sundays, 10am 11pm. For more information, click here

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago