Out and about: Maggie Miley’s in Normal

By admin Sep 18, 2014

Emily Considine


Tired of campus food or eating ramen noodles in your dorm room? Getting sick of the crowded bars downtown Bloomington? Interested in exploring your own or a different heritage? Maggie Miley’s, an Irish pub in uptown Normal, offers a unique dining experience and can fix either one or all of those issues.

With a menu packed with Irish food and a family staff, Maggie Miley’s strives to demonstrate Irish tradition and create a friendly atmosphere. “It’s always refreshing to eat at a restaurant that is family owned. The tradition just seeps through the walls,” Illinois State University student Austin Duffell said.

During the early 1900’s, Newlyweds Maggie and Michael Miley departed Ireland along with a wave of Irish families to seek their fortunes in America. Michael, a skilled craftsman, was quickly hired on with the railroad, which found him a position in McLean County.

While her husband worked hard on the railroad, Maggie enjoyed entertaining friends and co-workers with freshly prepared Irish dishes from home. Her food was such a success that she believed she could capitalize on the opportunity. Maggie wanted to build a pub that would capture the Irish culture for all to experience.

In 1866, the town of Normal had passed an ordinance prohibiting the sale of alcohol. Maggie was unable to fulfill her dream having to move south, settling in St. Louis, Missouri. Years later, Maggie’s great grandson, along with his two partners, decided to build a pub in Normal, IL, so all could experience some of the fine virtues of Ireland.

“I’m not of Irish heritage, but after eating at Maggie Miley’s it was awesome to really see how passionate people are about their heritage. Plus the food was spectacular!” Bloomington resident Mitch Schafer said.

The menu consists of items such as the paddy melt, which includes a half-pound seasoned choice burger with Irish Cheddar and grilled onions served on Rye bread. The most popular of menu choices is the Traditional Irish Breakfast. People in Ireland are known to eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It includes three types of Irish sausage, Irish bacon, fried eggs, fried tomato with Irish baked beans and toast.

“Not only are the items on the menu delicious, but they also really make you feel as though you are immersed into the Irish culture, which I found to be really neat,” Normal resident Gerald Ernat said.

For those of you looking for the perfect drink menu, look no further. Maggie Miley’s offers 16 different Irish draft beers, including Guinness, Newcastle Brown Ale and Fat Tire. Numerous types of Irish whiskey are also available daily. Specials change daily, such as Mad Monday where bottled imports and microbrews are only three dollars.

The atmosphere of Maggie Miley’s is a friendly and welcoming one. To enhance the Irish atmosphere, every Saturday at 9:00 a.m. and every Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  “LIVE” Barclays Premier League Soccer features your favorite team on the Worlds finest stage plays on the restaurant’s television screens.

“When my family and I went to Maggie Miley’s for lunch, soccer was playing on the screens and Irish music was playing. I am 50 percent Irish and this place really made me appreciate and enjoy where my family comes from,” Bloomington resident Stephanie Buhrow said.

Maggie Miley’s hours are 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. All are welcome, whether it’s for drinks or food, or both. The pub is located at 126 East Beaufort Street Normal, Il 61761.

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