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Monday, March 4, 2024

Quigley’s Irish Pub marks first 24 years in downtown Naperville


Above / Weather permitting, this beautiful ElDorado has been seen parked near Quigley’s Irish Pub where patrons gather to create fond memories EDAQ, aka “Every Day at Quigley’s.” While pub regulars are grateful for Quigley’s 24th anniversary on Nov. 17, 2022, good times also are planned from 8AM until noon on Thanksgiving morning to cheer on the participants in the Naperville Noon Lions Turkey Trot that steps off at 8AM Thurs. Nov. 24, from NCHS. (PN Photo, Oct. 29, 2022)

And so the blarney goes…

Ever since Quigley’s Irish Pub opened its doors on Nov. 17, 1998, friends, neighbors and countrymen have agreed 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, Connecticut, 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.

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“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, who shares ownership with her daughter, Michele. “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 across the pond by ship.

“They always got a kick of catching the women off guard at Elin Bennett, a classy woman’s clothing shop in the building back then. They watched them from the bay window while they worked,” Quigley said.

Golden retrievers are often found on Quigley’s patio looking for leprechauns and pots of gold. (PN File Photo)

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 recalls. “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 has been our good will ambassador since the day we opened,” 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. 

“John has been planning Quigley’s sponsored group tours to Ireland since 2001. We’ve got another tour planned next spring from April 23 through May 1,” she added.  “Oh. And John also takes photos with Santa and the Leprechaun—this year they’re planned from 10 to 2 on Dec. 11. John also came up with the idea to celebrate New Year’s Eve at 6PM or ‘Dublin Time’,” said Quigley.

Many of Drohan’s photos are framed in the Cottage Room, providing a 24-year showcase with a history of the pub.

Quigley thought for a second. “We’ve been so lucky to have such loyal employees. Omar and his family have been part of our kitchen staff since day one. And Estolio started with us when he was 19. Brian Jennings always is a familiar face, too. So is Andy Nosek. We like to think of all of our employees as family.”

On the road again…

The owner of Quigley’s Irish Pub has been known to travel across the country with her good friend, Joanne Josephson, portraying “Thelma and Louise” from Minnesota to Arizona. During their annual fall adventure, they sometimes take time to stop at landmarks along the way for “Louise” to photograph “Thelma” reading the most recent copy of Positively Naperville.

At right, “Thelma” visits a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Mason City, Iowa, with the recent November issue.

Below, “Thelma” enjoys stopping in Kansas, Colorado and finally near the Karl G. Jansky VERY LARGE ARRAY, a centimeter-wavelength radio astronomy observatory located in central New Mexico. (PN Reader photos by Joanne Josephson)

Service via West Suburban Irish, Golden Retrievers and Public Safety

Nancy Quigley also is a staunch supporter of West Suburban Irish, a nonprofit charitable organization that has called the pub its headquarters for more than 17 years. Whether marching or entering floats in the St. Patrick’s Parade, helping with Emerald Dinners and the Irish Mass during the week of St. Patrick’s Day, or hosting a booth at the Irish Fest down in Frontier Sports Park, Quigley has 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 of most months at 7PM.

In addition, Quigley serves on the board of Naperville Crime Stoppers where she supports the statement that “Keeping our community safe is everyone’s responsibility.”

She’s 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 and with elementary school reading programs in District 203.

Earlier this year, Quigley was recognized for her dedication and support of law enforcement when Safe Suburbs USA honored her as its “Citizen of the Year.”

Nancy Quigley and Det. Rich Wistocki (Ret.) are recognized with Inaugural Suburban Safety Star Awards.

Quigley’s Irish Pub hosts events year-round

Quigley’s Irish Pub is a welcoming place year-round. 

March or not, there’s live music with bands, sometimes Irish, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

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.

World Cup at Quigley’s / Cold Beverages Available

Check the schedule for the World Cup at www.quigleysirishpub.com. Watch the games beginning Nov. 20, 2022.

Sláinte to Naperville Noon Lions Club Turkey Trot Participants / Nov. 24

Quigley’s Irish Pub will be open from 8AM to Noon on Thanksgiving Day as a place to gather with friends, grateful for good health, public safety and all giving that happens in this community.

WSI Quiz Night at Quigley’s / Dec. 6

Save Tues., Dec. 6., for the next WSI Quiz Night. Trivia game play begins for teams of eight or less at 7PM. For more information about all programs and events hosted by the West Suburban Irish, visit www.wsirish.org.

Pictures with Santa at Quigley’s / Dec. 11

Families are welcome to take photos with Santa and the Leprechaun—this year they’re planned from 10AM to 2PM on Sun., Dec. 11.

Live Entertainment, Thursday thru Saturday / Joe Cantafio returns Dec. 29

Singer Joe Cantafio is set to return in late December for an encore performance on his guitar when he again will take the audience down Memory Lane, recounting his Naperville experiences that started back in the late 1980s at Ribfest. Cantafio also welcomes his audiences to sing along to his favorite songs as he celebrates “50 Years in Rock ‘n Roll.” He’ll begin at 7PM Thurs., Dec. 29. 

Everybody’s welcome to find what regulars call “EDAQ” camaraderie with classic Irish fare, bar bites and cold beverages. Enjoy live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And if you wish to book a holiday party, fundraiser, special event or meeting at Quigley’s, just call General Manager Andy Nosek at (630) 428-4774. 

“Ask for ‘Andy!'” suggests Nancy Quigley.

For everything about Quigley’s Irish Pub, visit www.quigleysirishpub.com.


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