Friendly folks, house-made fare make Two Shamrocks a winner
By: Suzanne Corbett
Outside the Emerald Isle, true Irish hospitality is a commodity as rare as a leprechaun’s pot o’ gold, but visitors to Two Shamrocks Public House find it is served there in generous portions. Guests are welcomed with warm smiles, cold drinks and hearty, Irish-inspired fare.
“We want to be the friendliest place in O’Fallon,” said John Harris, who with Gordon Reiter co-owns Two Shamrocks. “Everyone that comes through that door is important to us, and we’ll do anything it takes to keep them coming back.”
After just five months in business, customers are coming in and returning, thanks to that friendliness, a unique menu built on house-made foods and an impressive bar stocked with the area’s largest selection of Irish brews, ciders and whiskies. Those who enjoy raising a glass need only check the chalkboard hanging over the bar; listed are 14 Irish whiskeys to impress any malt connoisseur.
“We have lots of choices,” said Sarah Sanders, general manager, “and you can see by our menu we have more than bar food. We’re a cut above. We have food you would be proud to serve your grandma.”
Overseeing Two Shamrocks’ menu is Chef Joe Biondo, who honed his culinary skills at Bill Cardwell’s BC’s Kitchen. Biondo and Harris combined their culinary skills to develop the restaurant’s base of signature smoked meats, house-cured corned beef and the slow-roasted beef, which is used to create the Beef and Boursin – what guests are calling “the best sandwich in the area.” The Beef and Boursin is built on a French roll, filled with Two Shamrocks’ seasoned, roasted pulled beef and topped with a generous smear of creamy, herbed Boursin cheese.
“We hear from people every day that the Beef and Boursin is the best sandwich they’ve ever had,” said Harris. “I fell in love with Boursin years ago and use it whenever I can. I like to tell people, ‘If you haven’t had it, you have to try it.’”
Another item receiving accolades is Two Shamrocks’ house-cured corned beef. The classic Irish American specialty is served plated as a “bigger meal” with steamed cabbage, red potatoes and a rye biscuit, or as the Reuben Kincaid, Two Shamrocks’ version of the iconic grilled sandwich layering corned beef with Swiss and sauerkraut on marble rye.
Fish and chips is a must-have on any public house menu, and Two Shamrocks’ version features North Atlantic cod that can be prepared either pan-sautéed or hand-battered and fried until crisp and golden brown.
Traditional pub food serves as the foundation for an eclectic mix of dishes, including the Buffalo Chicken Dip and the Spicy Pulled Pork Quesadilla featuring Biondo’s mesquite- and hickory-smoked pulled pork. Pickle fanatics need to check out the Frickles – buttermilk-battered, deep-fried pickles – a favorite of Harris’ along with the soft-baked Pub Pretzels served with melted pepper jack cheese and honey mustard.
Nacho and chip will fans will rejoice over the Irish Nachos, a pub classic built with hand-cut potato chips. A half-pound “Rock Burger” is designed to satisfy the pub food purist, while gourmet palates may be drawn to the New York Strip, Grilled Salmon or Pasta Pomodoro. A selection of homemade soups, chili, entrée salads and chef-baked desserts – such the apple pie with cinnamon ice cream and caramel Irish cream sauce – round out the menu.
“Everything on the menu is someone’s favorite. We couldn’t take anything off without someone asking what happened to it,” said Harris, who clearly has a passion for his business. “I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love coming to work every day. There’s nothing better to me than to make our customers happy.”
Two Shamrocks Public House
3449 Pheasant Meadow Drive at Hwy. K • O’Fallon
11 a.m.-1 a.m., Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-midnight, Sunday