The owners and staff of Rosie O’Hare’s Public House in East Dundee are giving back to the community this Christmas season with an Irish twist. This Saturday, Dec. 14, Santa Claus will be free to see, while Irish breakfast and a limited kids menu will be available for sale. No purchase is necessary to see Santa.
Rosie’s also has its annual Giving Tree on display. Guests will be encouraged to pick a tag from it that lists a gift to buy for local families in need.
“We started our Giving Tree at least five years ago. It’s a way to help support the community that supports us. This year, we are adding another way to say thank you to our patrons with an extra layer of holiday fun,” said Jamie Legner Mueller, who owns Rosie’s with her husband Gary Mueller.
As for how the Irish breakfast with Santa came about, “I’ve been to Ireland. Through my friend Shay Clarke I learned Santa plays a big role in Christmas traditions there, much as he does in a large part of the world,” Legner Mueller said. “In Ireland, kids either leave a glass of milk or pint of Guinness along with mince pie out for Santa on Christmas Eve. They open their gifts Christmas morning.”
If Santa looks a bit like Rosie’s patron Tom Mikulay, that’s pure coincidence.
“I get that all the time, that we look alike” Mikulay said. “But it’s fake news that I am Santa. I drive a big SUV. It can’t hold all the toys Santa’s sleigh does.”
Rosie’s also has been getting in touch with it’s Irish roots. It’s named after the grandmother of the pub’s late former owner Thom “Mac” McNamee, McNamee was one of Gary Mueller’s lifelong friends. In his honor, Rosie’s chef, Jonathan Paul, recently started serving his take on Irish breakfast one Saturday a month.
“We’re like a family here. The breakfast is a tribute to Mac,” Paul said.
Rosie’s Irish breakfast comes with two fried eggs, a tomato slice, sauteed mushrooms, fried potatoes, baked beans, rashers (sausage) and Irish bacon. Paul subtly smokes the meat.
Having Santa appear at the Irish breakfast seemed a natural fit, Legner Mueller said.
Unlike some restaurants or malls, Rosie’s owners did not want to make it mandatory for those who attend to get tickets and buy food or to pay to have a photo taken with Santa.
“We certainly hope everyone who shows up gets something to eat or drink. But we also wanted this to be affordable holiday fun for families,” Legner Mueller said.
That means visiting the Jolly Old Elf will be free for anyone, from kids to moms and dads, she said. Anyone is welcome to take photos with Santa with their own smartphones, too.
The Irish breakfast served cost $14. The kids’ breakfast runs $7.
Beverages for children available to purchase include hot cocoa. For adults, the choices include Jameson and Guinness drink specials and an enhanced hot cocoa.
Rosie O’Hare’s Public House is located at 702 Water St., East Dundee. The Irish Breakfast with Santa runs from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Dec. 14. For information, see the Rosie O’Hares Public House Facebook page, or phone or text 224-305-5889.