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Irish bars prepare for St. Patrick's Day amid staffing shortages

St. Patrick's Day Guinness
Posted at 4:05 PM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 19:51:11-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — St. Patrick's Day is one of the busiest bar days of the year, and area establishments have been preparing, as it's the first one in two years without any COVID restrictions.

A couple of Kalamazoo pubs told FOX 17 News they're expecting to see lines out the door.

But, many are asking patrons to bring their patience, especially as staffing shortages continue to affect a wide range of restaurants and bars.

"We’re going into this with an incredibly small number of staff members," said O'Duffy's Pub Owner Jamie Kavanaugh.

As bars and restaurants prep for St. Patrick's Day, they're preparing to see an influx of people come out to celebrate.

While they're excited, they're also nervous.

"We would normally have 20–24 people on our staff going into a St. Patrick’s Day. We have also depended on former employees or just friends who come in to wash glasses and help out. Some of that is still going to happen, but on a much smaller scale. I think our total number of employees is about eight," said Kavanaugh.

Shakespeare's Pub in downtown Kalamazoo is also shorthanded. They said they've even had to modify their St. Patrick's Day offerings to fit with their staffing.

"We’re running at probably 50% of the staff we ran at before COVID hit. We are very conscious of the idea that this place has to run not at capacity but at 50% capacity just for the purpose of making sure that everyone in here is served properly," said Shakespeare's Pub's Co-Owner Ted Vadella.

Both establishments are making it work, keeping most of the traditions they've had over the years like common Irish beverages and food.

"We have baked beans with an egg-and-sausage casserole and sliced tomatoes that are on the grill, sausage links, bacon, a full breakfast for that.  We have a breakfast sandwich that we make with soda bread as the bun. Then of course we have dollar bowls of lucky charms, because we always have," said Kavanaugh.

"We’ll have a corned-beef-and-cabbage dinner. We will have our Irish stew. We will have boxty, which is our garlic mashed potatoes with a mushroom ragu," said Vadella.

As patrons prepare to celebrate, bars are asking people to be mindful as they head into the day.

"Bring your patience, bring your joyful side, and we will have fun," said Kavanaugh.

Shakespeare's Pub will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight.

O'Duffy's Pub will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Both locations will have open patios.

RELATED: St. Patrick's Day celebrated in West Michigan Saturday

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