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After a year under pandemic restrictions, local restaurants ‘grateful’ for improving outlook as St. Patrick’s Day nears

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Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, local restaurants are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with specials, events and lots of good luck.

For O’Rourke’s in Pawtuxet Village, St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal. Owner Laurie O’Rourke, wants people to “wear their green, come out and have a good time.”

The “real perk” of visiting the restaurant, O’Rourke said, will be a heated, outdoor bar for diners to enjoy. Diners can also sit indoors at the bar or at traditional restaurant tables. The O’Rourke’s menu will offer Guinness on tap, along with their usual domestic and imported beer, plus corned beef and Reuben sandwiches served with kettle chips.

“We’ve got the cold beer and sandwiches, and the staff is ready to go,” O’Rourke said. “We’re grateful to be at this point, moving forward in a positive direction. Now, let’s just hope for good weather.”

Keeping with tradition, O’Rourke is hanging the 31 Irish county flags throughout Pawtuxet Village, as she does each St. Patrick’s Day.

No reservations are required for O’Rourke’s, but to order takeout, call (401) 228-7444.

It’s been almost exactly one year since Pat’s Italian Restaurant had to first close its doors to indoor dining due to the pandemic.

“We just can’t believe it’s been a year,” owner Greg Stevens said.

Even though the restaurant is known for its Italian fare, and St. Patrick’s Day is “more of a bar night than restaurant night,” Stevens said the establishment will serve holiday themed specials like Guinness and green drinks, as well as the popular corned beef egg rolls.

The Pat’s Italian location at Chapel View in Cranston will offer lunch specials like a Reuben sandwich and corned beef flatbread.

None of the Pat’s Italian locations require reservations, although they are appreciated, Stevens said. To make a reservation or order takeout, visit patsitalian.com, or call (401) 320-8787 for the Coventry location and (401) 273-1444 for the Johnston location.

Finn’s Harborside in East Greenwich is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day a little early, on Sat. March 13. Last year, general manager Connor Finn said, the St. Patrick’s Day celebration was canceled.

This year, the restaurant is ready to shamrock and roll with two local bands. The Willy O’Wayz Duo will perform from 1 to 4 p.m., and Guarda, a five-piece Irish band, will perform from 5 to 9 p.m.

The Finn’s menu will feature Irish classics like a corned beef dinner, Reubens, and Guinness on draught.

Finn explained the restaurant will be following health guidelines, so unfortunately there won’t be any dancing this year, but they do offer a variety of seating options, including indoor, bar seating, the outdoor covered deck, or an outdoor heated igloo.

Reservations aren’t required, but Finn said he expects tables to fill quickly. To make a reservation or order online, visit finnharborside.com or call (401) 884-6363.

“We’re really looking forward to the spring and summer when restrictions hopefully lift a bit more,” Finn said. “But we really appreciate our customers who support small businesses like ours and our employees.”

The M&M Diner in Johnston may be known for its traditional American fare and all-day breakfast, but for St. Patrick’s Day, the restaurant will be serving corned beef and cabbage.

“Usually, the restaurant does a whole week of corned beef and cabbage,” owner Marios Kirios said. “Last year, with the pandemic hitting pretty much right on St. Patrick’s Day, the restaurant was left with a surplus of corned beef. We donated over 1,000 pounds of leftovers.”

This year, the restaurant is keeping it simple, but Kirios has already had over 50 preorders of St. Patrick’s Day meals.

“People have been asking for weeks, and they get excited about it,” he said.

The M&M Diner doesn’t require reservations, unless it’s for a larger party. To make a reservation or order takeout, call (401) 270-7371.

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