The Old Shillelagh goes local 

New menu to feature Michigan-made products with an emphasis on non-GMO

Longtime patrons of Greektown's Old Shillelagh fear not: Though the Irish pub's menu may undergo a "local-first" transformation, it's still going to be the same place you remember.

That's the message from owner Shellie Lewis, who took over the establishment officially on July 1.

The idea to have Old Shillelagh emphasize a Michigan-made menu stems from Lewis' interest in buying organic, natural products.

"It's just something I'm interested in," she says. "I like to buy organic food for the family."

Lewis says she likes to eat non-GMO (short for "genetically modified organisms") products and "I don't want to support factory farms. I wanted to bring that aspect into my business."

So far, she says, the response has been positive.

The pub is using Ann Arbor-based Eat Local Eat Natural for food products; the restaurant and market supplier touts itself as "being committed to supporting a sustainable and thriving local food economy." To accomplish that, it says it seeks to work with farmers and processors that are located within 150 miles of its operation.

Beyond that, Lewis says, Old Shillelagh is using Detroit-based Avalon Bakery for its bread, Farm Boy for its corn chips ("They use GMO-free corn"), and the plan is to increase the number of beer taps inside the pub from 19 to 30. Lewis intends to dedicate those additional 13 taps to Michigan craft beers, which should be flowing by the end of July.

Currently, the bar doesn't stock Michigan wine. "That's what I'm working on right now," says Lewis. The Michigan-centric drink selection is expected to expand even further, as Lewis wants to include Towne Club Soda.

If you're not a beer and wine fan, Shillelagh recently added booze from local distilleries Two James and Valentine.

In addition, more fare on the menu is being made in-house.

"We're trying to do everything from scratch," says Lewis.

And while the bar still attracts a pregame crowd before sporting events and on the weekend, Lewis sees an opportunity to tap a growing market in downtown Detroit for lunch and happy hour.

"I'd like to get more people in for just lunch and happy hour, and I think there's a market for people who actually care about local products," she says, adding, "I'm trying to touch base on every aspect of the business. What can we do local?"

But overall, the pub will remain what it's well-known and appreciated for, Lewis says.

"We're still the Shillelagh," she says. "We're just going to offer better products. It's still a good time, we're not bougie or anything like that."

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 7, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation