Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mcgurk's More Irish Than Most O'pubs Here

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mcgurk's More Irish Than Most O'pubs Here

Article excerpt

It's still almost 4 1/2 months to St. Patrick's Day, so what better time to lunch at John D. McGurk's, probably as authentic an Irish pub as one can find on the banks of the Mississippi and not alongside Dublin's Liffey.

In St. Louis terms, bars and restaurants whose names begin with O' or Mc are usually dubbed "Irish," and there's nothing wrong with that. A few paper shamrocks, a touch of green here and there, and maybe Irish stew on the menu from time to time is enough for the proper lineage.

McGurk's, at 12th Street and Russell Boulevard in the Soulard area (776-8309), has been around long enough to develop some of the patina of a Dublin bar, though it's rather well-lighted when compared with its counterparts across the Atlantic. In addition, it offers live Irish music, and does have Irish lamb stew on the menu daily. McGurk's is open every day, and the menu holds throughout, with a half-dozen dinner entrees added in the evening.

The restaurant, and the menu, have expanded several times over the years, and a handful of special touches set it apart. The lamb stew, served in a loaf of bread, always has been tasty, though that form of service is not my favorite. Corned beef and cabbage are available, along with a lot of standard lunch items.

But the hamburgers are solid, and so is the corned beef, sliced thick and served on excellent bread. A little mustard, and while this is the Irish, and not the Jewish, style, it's excellent.

The smoked ham is extremely tasty, and so is the chicken melt, with a grilled chicken breast topped with provel cheese and slices of bacon, then served on French bread with lettuce and tomatoes alongside.

Fries - Irish fries, of course - or slaw come with the sandwiches, and the fries were just thick-cut french fries. In the past, recently enough to remain on the menu, McGurk's served Irish chips, which were the same type of thinly sliced, fried potatoes that Llywelyn's and Dressel's, in the Central West End, call Welsh chips. …

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