Corned beef and cabbage? No! Try St. Pat's doughnuts, shakes, 'n fries.

Irish restaurants may want to serve corned beef and cabbage. But America's fast-food chains are offering far more intriguing fare for St. Patrick’s Day: from Dunkin' Donuts' 'Lucky Mint' dessert to Burger King's free fries with green ketchup. 

Paul Sakuma/AP/File
This 2010 file photo shows a Burger King Whopper hamburgers with fries at a Burger King restaurant in Mountain View, Calif. This weekend, the fast-food chain is offering free fries with green ketchup, just the thing for a St. Patrick's Day meal if you're not into corned beef and cabbage.

St. Patrick’s Day may nominally be about St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland who banished all of the snakes from the Emerald Isle, but really, it’s all about food and fun, and Irish culture.

Corned beef and cabbage? Fuhgitaboutit. To keep you nourished through all of the parades, clogging, and general revelry, here’s a handy guide to the St. Patty’s Day promotions going on at fast-food chains around the country.

We’ll take you through it, meal by meal. Because if there’s one thing that’s more fun than wearing green, it’s eating green food that isn’t a vegetable.


Massachusetts is the most Irish state in the United States by population percentage, so why not start your St. Patrick’s Day in a Boston-based institution?  Dunkin' Donuts is celebrating the Irish with two limited edition doughnuts. There’s the “Lucky Mint” – a glazed chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate icing and green mint chocolate bark shavings sprinkled on top. If you aren’t in the mood for chocolate, you can opt for the Green Shamrock Donut – a plain doughnut topped with Kelly green frosting and green and white sprinkles. The pastries are available through the end of March. Prices vary, but plan to pay about 89 cents per doughnut.


In case you get to lunchtime thinking you haven’t seen quite enough green this St. Patrick’s Day, Burger King has you covered. The burger chain is giving away a free serving of fries to every customer that walks in on March 17 and 18, and they come with bright green Heinz St. Paddy’s sauce for dipping (green ketchup, more or less). 

After your Burger King meal (eat something besides the free fries, please), you can stop by competitor McDonald’s for the king of St. Patrick’s Day promotional treats: The Shamrock Shake. Like the elusive McRib sandwich, the scarce availability of the bright green milkshake has generated somewhat of a cult following. It appears only occasionally, at select McDonald’s locations on or around St. Patrick’s Day.

The shake made its first appearance in 1970, and has a colorful, turbulent history, including a failed 1980s marketing campaign with the Uncle O’Grimacey character, and a poorly selling Shamrock Sundae. In 2010, McDonald’s began selling the shake under its McCafé line of relatively upscale shakes and coffee drinks. This year marks the first nationwide rollout of the Shamrock Shake, which will be available for a limited time depending on location. The shakes run from $2.09 to $3.19, depending on size. The current version is made with lowfat vanilla ice cream, the characteristic plutonium-green Shamrock Shake syrup, whipped cream, and topped with a maraschino cherry.


Bright green treats can be fun, but Arby’s is going a different route and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with traditional Irish cuisine (sort of). From March 16-18, the chain, which has temporarily renamed itself O’RB’s in honor of the holiday, is offering Buy One, Get One Free coupons on its Deli-Style Fresh Reuben sandwiches. They come on toasted marble rye bread with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, and the most Irish of all sandwich meats: corned beef. Give one sandwich to a loved one, or just eat both yourself.

And cap off your St. Patrick’s day of gorging at Dairy Queen, with a limited edition Mint Oreo Blizzard. The ice cream  concoction, mixed with Oreo crumbles, will be available all through March, and promises to be mintier than the Shamrock Shake (just the thing for your breath after all those Arby’s Reubens). With an online coupon, you can buy one at regular price and get another of equal or lesser size for 99 cents.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to