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The Irish Legend

July 31, 2017

  • 8933 Archer Avenue
  • Willow Springs, IL 60480
  • (708) 330-5264
  • Website
  • Menu

Anyone who has ever moved away from home knows the struggle.  Whenever you’re back in town visiting, everyone you know that still lives there wants to see you.  It’s hard to juggle longtime friends, family, and whatever the actual reason for your visit is.

We did the best we could to make time for everyone we could on this last trip home.  We spent two nights at my parents house.  We spent four nights at J’s parents.  We spent the afternoon with one of J’s friends.  We met my buddy and his fiance for dinner.  We met another one of J’s friends and her family for lunch.  We had a busy week, but it was nice to hang out with people we don’t get to see all that often.

Our last meeting was on Saturday afternoon for lunch.  One of J’s high school friends and her family wanted to meet for lunch somewhere between their house in Darien and J’s parents in Oak Lawn.  We told them to pick a place and we’d meet them at noon.

They picked The Irish Legend on Archer Avenue just outside of the main business district of the Village of Willow Springs.  The restaurant is along a very busy Archer Avenue, which doubles as IL-171, just to the southwest of the intersection with Flavin Road. 

I didn’t know this at the time, but this place has some cool history.  The building dates back to 1920 when it was know as Oh Henry’s Roadhouse.  The building was used as a speakeasy during prohibition and even had tunnels connecting it to the Willowbrook Ballroom across the street where a casino was being run in the basement.  Al Capone was one of many gangsters that hung out at the place and there have been several paranormal researches done over the years and several ghosts sightings due to the violent past of the place.

The original building didn’t include the front patio or the second dining room that are part of the building now.  The Irish Legend took over the space in 2010 after it had sat empty for a couple of years.  The previous restaurant was a pizzeria.

We pulled in to the parking lot a little after noon on Saturday.  Our friends pulled in right behind us.  The parking lot is pretty small, but there is parking across the street at the Willowbrook Ballroom…..well, at least the at the part that didn’t just burn down.

We went inside and kind of did a quick tour through the dining rooms.  There are two main areas with the first room being more of a bar area with TV’s hanging above the bar and pub tables in the space.  The back room is more of a dining room with traditional tables set on top of hardwood floor with a large fireplace setting the ambiance.

We thought about just staying inside, but it was a nice day, so we headed out to the patio.  This space had a mixture of picnic tables and patio furniture inside a an area separated from the parking lot by a black wrought iron fence.  At night, lighting is provided by large bulb string lights.

The backside of the patio butts up to the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Willow Springs Woods.  They take advantage of this with the addition of a water feature cascading water down the hill from the woods into a small pool.  The kids loved this area for some reason.  I had to watch B as we were afraid he was going to jump in.

The two older girls saw an opportunity when they noticed the stage in the corner of the space.  It’s quite a large, wooden stage that I’m assuming they do live music on weekends.  The girls put together “a show” for us that they performed before we left.

J’s friend’s husband is a pretty big beer guy so we always have something to bond over.  He’s a good guy too, but the beer thing just gives us something else to talk about.  The bartender followed us outside with some menus and set the beer menus down in front of the two of us.  They have a pretty large drink menu that actually takes up two of their half sheets of paper they use for the drinks.

I had already been looking for their Beer of the Month at previous stops while we had been in Chicago, so I was didn’t hesitate to order Goose Island’s Old Man Grumpy Pale Ale.  The beer is exclusive to Chicago so we won’t see it here in Michigan any time soon.

J ordered an Ace Pineapple Cider while L asked for a Kiddie Cocktail.  Nana and Grandpa introduced her to those on vacation so whenever we go to a bar for lunch, she asks for one now.

The menu at The Irish Legend is pretty typical for an Irish Pub.  There’s a mix of classic pub fare as well as a few Irish specialties.  You know the usual stuff.  Corned beef and cabbage, Shepard’s pie.  Those sorts of things.

I found a couple of tasty looking burgers including one that was topped with chili….but that sounded messy, so I ordered the Hangover Burger.  The Angus beef patty is topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, and an over-easy egg.  The sandwich is served on a toasted brioche roll.  The burger was a done a little past medium which made it a little tough, but the runny yolk from the egg added a little bit of moisture back to the sandwich.  The bacon was a little overdone as well.  It was a little rubbery and hard to bite through.  I ended up pulling it off and eating it separate from the sandwich because it was just too hard to bite through the whole sandwich and the crispy bacon as well.  I have a feeling the bacon was left over from the night before and just reheated.  The sandwich came with battered fries that were very crispy and delicious.  These are the perfect kind of dipping fries…but I don’t like ketchup so I just ate them as they were which was fine.

J ordered the Chicken & Bacon Wrap.  This simple wrap was filled with breaded chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and ranch dressing.  The wrap was bursting at the seams with what looked like a pretty good mix of the ingredients.  J was so busy talking that she didn’t really say anything about the sandwich or the fries, but both were gone when her plate was taken away.

We got both kids Mac & Cheese.  The bartender said she had a kids menu but didn’t have one printed.  Mac & Cheese was the first thing she said and that’s what both kids wanted so that’s what they got.

The pasta they used penne pasta and covered it in a thick, creamy, cheesy sauce.  Both kids ate about half so J and I pounced and each took one of their cups.  The pasta choice was right on because the penne just clung to that sauce.  It looks like they cooked the pasta then dumped the cheese over.  There was a lot of sauce in the bottom of the cup, but that was fine…although I wish we had known that while we still had fries.

The waitress brought us our bill as one check so we had to do a little math.  It was right around $70 for seven of us.  I think our share was a little over $40.   J and I had the cash so we threw that in the pot.

The Irish Legend is a pretty solid Irish Pub in the south suburbs.  I didn’t know the history while we were there, but that makes the place even a little more interesting.  The food didn’t jump out as anything amazingly exceptional, but it was all pretty delicious and I didn’t hear any complaints.

The Irish Legend Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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