The only non-Irish thing about the Irish vegetable soup at Celtic Crossing Irish Pub is the color. It’s not green. It’s more of a light brown. But it may be as close to the Emerald Isle as you’re going to get - food wise - at a Memphis restaurant.
Celtic’s owner D. J. Naylor adds “traditional” to “Irish vegetable soup."
“It is served in most traditional Irish pubs, particularly outside of Dublin,” he says.
And, he says, “For me, it’s akin to Achill Island. If you Google, it’s the largest island off Ireland. Close to where I’m from. Ballina in County Mayo.”
But, Naylor says, “ You don’t need a name. You just need a taste.”
He’s planning to serve quite a bit of it this coming St. Paddy’s Day. “I would say with the weather 55 and sunny, i would say a lot. Like a lot. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t 300 orders sold.”
The soup was offered as a special, but now it’s a permanent item on the menu, Naylor says.
“Originally, I brought some back from an Irish pub just to try to match it up. It’s almost the same everywhere. It’s basically a concoction of roasted root vegetables. Turnips, cauliflower, carrots, onions, potatoes, leeks, and celery.”
They also use cream. “For five gallons, you’re talking two quarts.”
Naylor brought 25 gallons to the recent Youth Villages Soup Sunday and served 2,000 little cups to visitors.
Naylor says he got a great reaction after he told visitors how good the soup is. “It was overwhelming. Like people would stop in their tracks and turn around say, ‘Oh, my God. He’s right. Jeez. This is good.’”
He’s going to let his sister, Rossa Martin, try the soup when she visits Memphis this weekend. “She’s a bit of a Soup Nazi,’ he says. But he knows she’s going to like it and say, “I feels like I’m in Achill Island.”
The soup probably goes great with green beer and Irish whisky, so give it a try while you’re celebrating at Celtic Crossing on St. Patrick’s Day.
A special brunch menu will be available between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. March 16th and 17th. This will be followed by a special dinner menu until 11 p.m.
Live music on the patio will be featured between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. both days. One of the entertainers will be Irish musician Ricko Donovan, who will play between 6 and 9 p.m. on the patio.