The other day, we drove by Burke's Irish Castle at the corner of 53rd Street and Bluemound Road. My friend exclaimed: "Wow! That's green!"
Yes, Burke's makes an impression from the very start. It's very Irish, and very green.
Opened in April, 2012, by Sean Burke and his partners, Shane Valenti and Chuck Vecitis, Burke's took over the space formerly occupied by two legendary Irish pubs: Feeney's and Derry Hegarty's. Burke and his partners are fully aware of the legacy they've bought into, including the fact that Derry Hegarty's grave, across the street, faces Burke's.
"Given the fact that this has been here for more than half a century, this bar has more Irish history than probably any other in Milwaukee," Burke said.
And although the Irish lilt carries on, Burke and his partners have done extensive renovation, including moving and expanding the kitchen and installing large garage doors that open during warmer weather.
When it comes to the food, Burke is adamant that this is a gastropub and not just another sports bar situated near Miller Park. Although he does point out there is plenty of parking and much more interior space than people may realize.
"We can get them in and out quickly, even on game days," he said.
Some of the most popular/signature dishes include: Mac of the Week — which might be lobster, Polish sausage or whatever they create ($11 to $17), house-smoked ribs ($16), steamed mussels ($10), Irish "frachos" ($10) or The Castle Hash Burger ($10). At brunch on weekends, they offer a free breakfast with the purchase of a house Bloody Mary.
"We really try to do some exceptional food," Burke said. "We're trying to elevate the food game. We are part of the "localvore" (locally sourced ingredients) movement. It's not just your average pub fare."
And although Burke's dubs itself a traditional Irish pub (the green exterior is an homage to a famous bar in Ireland), Sean Burke wants you to know that their place is special: "We're not just another bar."
NAME: Burke's Irish Castle
ADDRESS: 5328 W. Bluemound Road
PHONE: (414) 453-6088
FARE: Pub Fare/Irish
HOURS: 11a.m. (Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.) to 11 p.m. or later, depending on events
PRICE RANGE: about $8 to $17
HANDICAP ACCESS: yes
GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS: yes (including fish fry)
LOOKING TO 'GRAB A BITE'?
"Grab a Bite" is an informal look at the food scene in the Wauwatosa, Brookfield and Elm Grove area by freelance writer Karen Waldkirch. Whether you're looking for a place for a date night or a casual spot for lunch, Waldkirch will be out and about scouting eateries for you. If you have a suggestion for a column, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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