Windy City foodies, meat lovers, and those with a strong competitive spirit are among the devoted customers who sing the praises of a popular Lincoln Park pub. One of the many things that make Paddy Long's special include a friendly neighborhood feel, plus a wide selection of cold brews and great food, including the "Bomb," a massive meatloaf that inspired a local food eating challenge.
Paddy Long's Is the "Bomb!"
Paddy Long's "Bomb," which is a 5-pound meatloaf of homemade beef and pork sausage stuffed with pepper bacon and wrapped in a brown sugar bacon weave, was not only a fast favorite, but it started a classic feeding frenzy.
"When we first debuted our Bomb, people immediately started claiming they could eat one by themselves. A challenge seemed to be the logical next step. The Bomb Challenge became a 45-minute time limit to eat one whole bomb and a large basket of fries by yourself," said Paddy Long's owner Pat Berger.
"For a long time, no one came close, and I personally didn't think it was humanly possible until two professional competitive eaters came by for a charity event and both finished in under 15 minutes!"
The first winner was Patrick Bertolli, who completed the challenge in 9 minutes, 50 seconds, and the second diner was another pro-eater, James "The Bear" McDonald. Berger said that in 74 challenges, there have only been three successful winners.
Bacon, Brew, Fresh Veggies
Paddy Long's, located at 1028 W. Diversey in Chicago, which opened in 2007, is also unique because during warm months, there is a garden in back of the bar, where they grow fresh veggies, fruits, and herbs, plus the bar hosts weekly beer and bacon tastings.
"People love the fact that Paddy Long's is a dedicated 'Beer & Bacon' pub. Besides our Bomb, we've got a gigantic BLT, our famous bacon board (four different cuts of bacon with bread and mustard), deep fried beer-battered bacon strips, and several other bacon items. Our 18 taps are stocked with interesting and often rare craft beers which constantly rotate. We offer beer and bacon tastings where one of our trained staff guides you through five different beer and bacon pairings. It's offered three times a week and can be booked through our website at paddylongs.com," said Berger.
Beer aficionados will be happy to hear about this one -- Paddy Long's hosts a beer-related event about once a month. The next one, featuring 10 different barrel-aged brews on draft and even more in bottles, will be held on Friday, February 22, 2013. "Nothing goes with bacon better than a barrel-aged beer," according to Berger.
Ready to Dismantle the Bomb?
If you think you are up to the Bomb Challenge and can consume the entire 5-pound meal with fries in 45 minutes or less, you will win a T-shirt, a place of honor on the wall of fame, and your Bomb is free.
For those who prefer their gastronomical feasts a little lighter, Paddy Long's also serves a variety of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, and chili, along with an extensive list of beers served on tap and in bottles or cans.
To find out more about the menu, beer selections, and upcoming events at Paddy Long's in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, please visit their website.
Patricia Batson is a Chicago resident who has worked as a background extra in Hollywood, California, and Chicago, Illinois, in television and film productions "Boss," "Shameless," "The Chicago Code," "Glee," "Grey's Anatomy," "Contagion," "The Dilemma," and "Get Him to the Greek." In addition, her resume includes local ad agencies and TV and radio stations.