What To Eat and Drink While You Stream The North Texas Irish Festival

See how that beer isn't green? Green beer isn't Irish, but the North Texas Irish Festival is.
See how that beer isn't green? Green beer isn't Irish, but the North Texas Irish Festival is. Courtesy of SusieCakes
It always starts to feel like spring in Dallas when the North Texas Irish Festival rolls around. It’s generally the first in a series of fun festivals, but this year is going to be different. With Texas businesses opened up, we could start to see more festivals scheduled in the future, but the beloved Irish festival will happen virtually on March 6.

There’s a loaded schedule of five free livestreams of music and dance plus a paid virtual event streamed from Ireland. All can be found at the festival's website.

"The North Texas Irish Festival has signaled the start of spring here in Texas for some time,” Sheri Bush, president of the Southwest Celtic Music Association said. “We are pleased to be the warm-up to St. Patrick's Day and to bring musicians to our event before they play in many other places on St. Patrick's Day. This way, everyone gets the chance to hear this incredible music."

There will be food demonstrations on the Irish Culture livestream channel, but for the first time, you’re going to be on your own to come up with food and drinks. Just like at the festival, you might partake of a mix of authentically Irish, American Irish, and completely un-Irish food that happens to be green. Just hold off for a couple of weeks (or forever) on the green beer, please.

"The North Texas Irish Festival is definitely not a green beer type of event, though there is certainly a place for those,” Bush said. “The festival was created by musicians who loved and played traditional Irish music, and we have tried to carry on with that as the core of the event. We do our best to honor and preserve that traditional feel with the music, dance and culture, and as there is no green beer in Ireland, there is none at our event.”

If you want to set the mood for your Celtic music viewing or just get warmed up for St. Patrick’s Day, check out some of these dishes you’ll find in Dallas restaurants, paired with some tempting options from local breweries.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Cabbage is mixed with potatoes in colcannon, an authentic Irish dish, but the Irish American corned beef and cabbage is more likely to show up at Irish celebrations around the U.S. If it puts you in the mood to tap your toes, you’ll find it on the menu of many an Irish pub in Dallas.

Beer pairing: Try a Cannoneer, a medium-bodied amber from Pegasus City Brewery.

Blackfriar Pub
2621 McKinney Ave. (Uptown)
The McKinney Avenue pub has embraced its restaurant side and has some creative takes on this dish, plus some authentically Irish food.

There’s a corned beef Reuben sandwich, corned beef poutine and a corned beef and hash Benedict on the brunch menu. You can also get an Irish breakfast or some bangers and mash at brunch on weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cindi’s NY Deli & Restaurant
306 S. Houston St. (Downtown); 11111 North Central Expressway, No. G (North Dallas ); 7522 Campbell Road, No. 117 (Far North Dallas ); 3565 Forest Lane (North Dallas ); and 2001 Midway Road, No. 132, Carrollton

New Yorkers take their Irish celebrations seriously, so it’s no surprise that the corned beef sandwiches at this New York-style deli are seriously good. Served on a Reuben on rye or offered in a combo with pastrami and chopped liver, their corned beef is sure to get your Irish up.

Fish and Chips

This dish also isn’t of Irish origin, but pubs in Ireland do serve it, and fish and potatoes are definitely products of Ireland. Plus, it’s just such a likable dish, we’re not gonna 86 it from the menu.

Beer pairing: Enjoy the citrus aroma and just a little bitterness in the Please 'N Thank You pale ale from Lakewood Brewing.

Fish & Fizz
400 N. Coit Road, No. 1908, Richardson
Praised for their fish and chips, this shop also offers some great sides like chip shop curry sauce or smashed minted peas.

Meddlesome Moth
1621 Oak Lawn Ave. (Design District)

Beer-battered Atlantic cod is on the “for those who won’t share” part of the menu here for good reason. Crispy fish and chips plus peas will make sure your eyes are smiling, whether you’re Irish or not.

Green-Themed Desserts

Like cute dogs dressed in green bow ties and top hats, green desserts are part of the not-so-Irish festivities at the North Texas Irish Festival. These sweet shops have offered their goodies at the festival before, and you can get some to eat at home this year.

Pair them with any stout beer or enjoy some Irish whiskey with your sweets. An Irish coffee sounds great too.

Savor Patisserie
6725 Hillcrest Avenue, Suite D (Park Cities),9440 Garland Road, No. 142 (Casa Linda) with additional locations in McKinney and Fort Worth

Enjoy some macarons from a special St. Patrick’s Day collection available through March 15. The Lucky Charms flavor is just like the cereal, while the Shamrock Shake is mint and vanilla. Other flavors include chocolate stout, ginger with Jameson buttercream and more.

6100 Luther Lane (North Dallas)

The delicious Guinness chocolate cupcakes SusieCakes has made for the festival are available in-store through March 21.

Yelibelly Chocolates
4500 Ratliff Lane, No. 102, Addison

Whiskey chocolates have been popular at the festival, and the chocolate shop’s website is your connection to a wonderful thing called Chocolate Whisky Disks to serve with your favorite whiskey.

Irish Stew

If the idea of Irish stew leaves you longing for Trinity Hall Irish Pub, here’s some good news: They are reopening soon. The bad news is that it’s not in time for the Irish festival and probably not in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

Still, there are several great spots where you can get a hearty bowl of Irish stew.

Beer pairing: Four Bullets Brewery in Richardson makes some fantastic English ales right here in Texas. The Black Jack Brown ale is an excellent option with a nice bowl of stew.

The Old Monk
2847 N Henderson Ave. (Knox/Henderson)

The Guinness beef stew here is great, and a cheese board will keep you snacking while you watch the festivities.

The Crafty Irishman
1800 Main St. (Downtown)

The stew here is a traditional lamb stew made from a family recipe. The brunch options here are fun too, with an Irish breakfast sandwich or a cheese toastie.

Shepherd’s Pie

Now here’s a dish that’s decidedly Irish. What’s not to love about a ground meat casserole with loads of mashed potatoes?

Beer pairing: Hop and Sting Brewing Co. has a couple of great pairing options for this dish. Go with Frigid Underworld, an Imperial espresso stout, or Sir Williams, English-style Brown Ale.

Lochland’s Food and Spirits
8518 Plano Road (Highland Meadows)

Get your shepherd’s pie traditional style or vegan or preorder a family meal that feeds 8-10 people for St. Patrick’s Day.

Soda Bread

Grab some soda bread and KerryGold butter from Trader Joe’s for some easy and authentic Irish noshing.

Beer pairing: You can’t go wrong with the Irish stout Turn Out the LIghts from Peticolas. It should get you in the mood for their Irish Goodbye, an Irish red ale that will be back on St. Patrick’s Day.

If you can’t decide on a single dish, Thirsty Lion, 350 Las Colinas Blvd. in Irving, is serving a seasonal menu of all things Irish from March 4-17, so you can get a little of everything.

Once you have your food and drink on hand, you’re ready to settle in and watch the festival. Five free channels are available, including the Irish Culture Channel, which will include some fun food demos:

12:15 p.m. - Cooking with Toni Sloane
3 p.m. - Whiskey tasting with Teelings
4 p.m. - Cooking with Scott Jones
4:15 p.m. - Guinness glass etching
5 p.m. - Whiskey tasting with Glendalough

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By day, Kristina Rowe writes documentation that helps users navigate software, and as a contributor to the Dallas Observer she helps people find their way to food and fun. A long-time list-maker, small-business fan and happiness aficionado, she's also been an Observer reader for almost 40 years.
Contact: Kristina Rowe