Businesses see more green for St. Patrick's Day
Restaurants, bars and arts centers have events planned

Enterprise Staff

March 14, 2015

Irish ensemble Danu will perform at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield tonight. 
Photo submitted

HARTLAND - As St. Patrick’s Day has grown in popularity around the country in recent years, so have the opportunities for businesses to capitalize on the day when everyone can be Irish.

“St. Patrick’s Day has a huge impact on our economy because of the date placed on it,” Chef Michael Feker said, explaining people have cabin fever and want to get out of the house. “It provides a bigger right to enjoy ourselves and get out there.”

During this St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday, Feker will serve a traditional Irish dinner at Zesti, his new restaurant in Hartland. He wants to return the focus more to the food and time spent with friends and family than as a day to get inebriated.

“I am all about going back to the table and bringing people closer to their food,” he said.

His menu will include Reuben-stuffed potatoes, homegrown Wisconsin lamb and beef stew laced with Guinness and an Irish pub salad made from bib lettuce, spinach, Irish bacon and other vegetables.

Feker anticipates people will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on the day of the holiday as well as the days before and after, saying there are people who want to be part of the chaos and others who don’t just like Valentine’s Day.

Aelred Gannon, co-owner of The Pub in Oconomowoc, said St. Patrick’s Day is an important money-making day for his business.

“It’s the busiest day of the year for us. It certainly helps to pay off some of the bills,” he said, adding it’s also an expensive day for which to prepare.

On Tuesday, The Pub will have Irish food and Gannon said although no entertainment is planned, someone may drop in and play some tunes.

He’s already starting to see the effects of the Irish holiday. On Thursday night more people came to listen to live music than usual.

“I would anticipate seeing more people out on the weekend, but they do like to go out, no matter what the day St. Patrick’s Day is,” Gannon said.

Lively Celtic tunes 

For those wanting to listen to some lively Celtic music, the Irish ensemble Danu will perform at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield tonight.

Executive Director Jonathan Winkle said he personally enjoys and respects Celtic music so he likes to include it in the performing arts center’s schedule. And with Milwaukee home to the world’s largest Irish festival and a strong Irish community, there is a strong market for the music.

“There is logic in offering up higher level Celtic programming,” he said. “Ticket sales have done well over the years with the Celtic or Irish music offerings.”

Generally special performances will be for one night, but there were two nights of performances of Danu scheduled, which Winkle said illustrates the higher demand. Besides tonight’s performance, Danu performed Friday.

In addition to the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center seeing economic impact from St. Patrick’s Day by having the special programming, it will rent extra sound equipment from another business, hire a part-time crew to help with the production, spend money on advertising and patrons will frequent area restaurants.

One business, although it has the world “Celtic” in its name, does not see a bump in sales for St. Patrick’s Day. Lynne Flancher, owner of Celtic Gypsey at 330 W. Broadway St. in Waukesha, said she’ll even be closed on Tuesday like normal.

But overall, her best months in the past year for sales have been February and March, she said.