Above / Spectators received friendly waves from the Leprechaun when the float for Quigley’s Irish Pub trekked through town during the 2019 West Suburban Irish St. Patrick’s Parade. For two decades, Quigley’s has been headquarters for the West Suburban Irish, hosts of the annual St. Patrick’s Parade and monthly Quiz Nights.
UPDATE, March 16, 2019 / In the spirit of pubs that have been central to life in Ireland, dating back to the 11th century and perhaps further, Quigley’s Irish Pub is fourth months into its 21st year. Quigley’s is where local Irish lawyers and and other interesting individuals grab lunch, conduct business, catch up with friends, foster relationships, drink to celebrate, and frequent to socialize at a place where they know your name. And if they don’t know your name, tell them! The popular casual dining destination in downtown Naperville is undoubtedly the most famous pub in town.
To celebrate St. Patrick, the fun with live music continues on March 16 and all day March 17. A $5 cover charge will be in place beginning at 12:30PM both days. Only ages 21-plus will be admitted after 4PM on Sat., March 16, and all day on Sun., March 17. Other restrictions may apply at select times during St. Patrick’s Day Weekend.
UPDATE, Nov. 16, 2018 / Quigley’s Irish Pub will celebrate its first 20 years all day on Sat., Nov. 17, 2018.
Original Post, March 2017 / The 2017 Honorary Grand Marshal of the West Suburban Irish St. Patrick’s Parade is Nancy Quigley, owner of Quigley’s Irish Pub. The parade steps off at 10AM Sat., March 11, in downtown Naperville.
According to WSI President Chuck Corrigan, Quigley has been a staunch supporter of the nonprofit charitable organization for more than 15 years. Whether marching or entering floats in the parade, helping with the recent Emerald Dinner on Feb. 25 and the upcoming Irish Mass on March 14, she’s been a constant contributor. In addition, she’s served as co-chair of the annual parade, VP of the club and her pub hosts monthly WSI Quiz Nights on the first Tuesday at 7PM.
Quigley also serves on the board of Naperville Crime Stoppers. She is a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Naperville-Downtown. With her two golden retrievers, she volunteers regularly with the Edward Hospital Animal Assisted Therapy Program.
For more information about the West Suburban Irish, visit www.wsirish.org.
The Blarney at Quigley’s
It’s only a paper moon depicted on this month’s cover, aimed to draw attention to all the festivities that shine in the spotlight during March.
“The Moon is made of green cheese” is a folkloric statement, based on the incredulous legend that the Moon is composed of young cheese with craters reminiscent of Swiss cheese that has yet to age.
In the spirit of Irish mythology, this mostly-Irish editor searched the Swiss online with questions about green cheese and its relationship to Ireland. That’s where we discovered the Swiss are preparing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Geneva, Lausanne, and other towns around Lake Geneva. What’s more, since 2014, the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen, the largest waterfall in Europe, has been illuminated in green lights for St. Patrick’s Day.
Our contact found so many holes in the green cheese moon theory, she dared to call it blarney. And we were led to a super St. Paddy’s Day celebration at a Swiss hotel where traditional Irish stew, Guinness and football were on the menu.
No worries, we thought on our fact-finding mission. We have no need for the Swiss side of the story since we have Quigley’s Irish Pub, right here in Naperville, Illinois.
And so the story goes…
Every March thoughts turn to all things green and Irish as St. Patrick’s Day approaches, followed closely by the first day of spring.
And ever since Quigley’s Irish Pub opened its doors on Nov. 17, 1998, friends, neighbors and countrymen agree it’s great to be Irish any day of the week, whether they have Irish ancestry or not.
Owner Nancy Quigley, who often reminds folks of her Italian and Austrian descent, recalls a trip to Buckhead, Georgia, back in 1997, an Atlanta suburb known for its Irish pubs. That’s when the idea for her family-owned business was crafted. A subsequent trip to Stamford, Conn., to take a Guinness-sponsored course on “How to do an Irish Pub” introduced Quigley to Guinness associate Emily Martin who in turn referred her to Irish pub builders in Toronto, Canada.
“We liked what we saw during the visit to Toronto, so we located a spot in downtown Naperville and approached Kris Guill who ran the Jefferson Tea Room at 43 E. Jefferson Avenue.”
Quigley said they then contacted architects Gemmell Griffin & Dunbar, out of Dublin. They came here, looked at the space and gave their approval of the spot in the Jefferson Hill Shops. Next they helped design the space with four different authentic interpretations of Ireland.
“We were amused by the casual way they measured the area for the bar,” recalls Quigley. “With tape measure in hand, every measurement was ‘good enough.’”
She also has fond memories of two Irish carpenters, Paul and Emon, who installed the wooden antique design features that came over to the U.S. by ship.
“They always got a kick of catching the women off guard at Elin Bennett, a classy woman’s clothing shop, when they watched them from the bay window while they worked,” Quigley said.
The layout for Quigley’s Irish Pub includes the Victorian Room and bar with snugs (partitioned booths, characteristic of Irish pubs, for patrons, usually women, who preferred not to be seen in the public bar), the Cottage Room, Country Room with bar, and the Cigar Room; all designed into one establishment representing the styles found in Dublin as well as in countryside inns.
“I should note that we had to have a local architect, too, to design the guts,” Quigley added. “Charles Vincent George Design worked out all the structural changes to the space that included the kitchen, bathrooms and coolers.”
The Cottage room at Quigley’s, she noted, is the former billiard room of Naperville Mayor Francis Austin Kendall, whose family lived in the house in the early 1900s.
The concept provides plenty of room and authentic food, including fish and chips, to provide “craic,” a Gaelic word for that warm welcome and fellowship with fun people that adds to the popularity of the Quigley experience.
Of course, Guinness is a popular beverage choice as is the selection of craft and draft beers and a smaller selection of spirits, including Midleton “very rare Irish whiskey” and wine. After all, Quigley’s is an Irish pub.
“John Drohan is our good will ambassador,” said Quigley, reminiscing about his relationship with the family business dating back to “pre-construction” days when he assisted her sons, Barry and Sean, on the build-out. Barry was the GM and now he’s back as manager.
“John has been planning Quigley’s sponsored group tours to Ireland since 2001. He also organizes our golf outings, takes photos with Santa and the Leprechaun, and he had the idea to celebrate New Year’s Eve at 6PM or ‘Dublin Time’,” said Quigley.
She pointed to the square tile mosaic designs on the floor. “John was with us when we laid out all the tiles to be set in the wooden floor,” she said. “He’s been with us every step of the way. You’ll also find many of his photos in the Cottage Room that help tell our history.”
Quigley thought for a second. “We’ve been so lucky to have such loyal employees. Danny Torrez and Antonio Cortez have been part of our kitchen staff since day one. Brian Jennings and Nicole French are familiar faces, too. We like to think of all of our employees as family.”
She added that many of their employees have quit when they moved to other parts of the country, and many of them have returned to work at Quigley’s when they’ve moved back.
Operating and owning the business with her two children is a plus, she said. “Michele and Barry are here to keep things going and running as smoothly as possible in the unpredictable restaurant business… We have each other to bounce off ideas and we all have ownership every day.”
Michele Michael, Nancy Quigley’s daughter and general manager at Quigley’s, agrees. “The pub keeps our family together. Plus, I get to see my mom on a daily basis.”
Quigley’s Irish Pub is a welcoming place year-round. This month, St. Patrick’s festivities begin after the West Suburban Irish St. Patrick’s Parade on March 11 and all day on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.
March or not, there’s live music with bands every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Most Tuesdays, the Chorus of DuPage stops by for good cheer about 9:45PM to harmonize old favorites.
When the weather is warm, the patio is open and well-behaved dogs are allowed. And year round, Irish sporting events via satellite attract another loyal crowd.
While you’re ordering the Irish classics and other specials off the menu, for the fun of it, substitute “green cheese” with a Corned Beef Reuben or a Killarney Burger. Or better yet, order Nancy’s signature Pear Salad with Green Cheese instead of bleu. Think green and enjoy the food, beer, music and regulars found every day at Quigley’s — EDAQ.
Just don’t embarrass yourself by asking for green beer.
“We never serve green beer here,” said Michele. “Why? …It’s not an authentic Irish tradition,” she added.