CALDWELL, N.J. (PIX11) – They’ve got the green beers, Irish soda bread and the flavors of the emerald isle. But on this St. Patrick’s Day, some have just one question: where’s the beef? Corned beef that is.
Cloverleaf Tavern in Caldwell, N.J., is celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day, which fell on a Friday during Lent. For Catholics, that traditionally means meat is off the table.
“We definitely don’t usually eat meat,” said Tim Hughes of Essex Fells. “We usually eat pizza on Fridays.”
But not today, said some Dioceses of the Catholic Church.
Cardinals, including Newark Archdiocese Cardinal Joseph Tobin, have granted a dispensation for Catholics, allowing them to participate in the Irish tradition. Hughes and his family are among them.
“We’re here to enjoy it and have a little corned beef and cabbage and really take in the whole day,” said Hughes.
Cloverleaf Tavern knows St. Patrick’s Day as well as anyone. They’re celebrating their 90th year in business. So they know that, eventually, St. Patrick’s Day will have to fall on a Friday during Lent.
“We wait for that dispensation to come, and it typically comes,” said co-owner Ryan Dorchak.
The tavern is ready to dish out more than 1,000 pounds of corned beef.
“We actually sold so much this week leading up to it that we needed to get a special order this morning,” said Dorchak.
It’s nice to have the clergy’s blessing, but for Paul Lebo, of Roseland, he just needed the thumbs up from his aunt.
“She’s a nun of over 75 years,” said Lebo, donning a green shamrock suit. “I called her yesterday. I said, ‘I just wanted to make sure we had the blessing from the pope and you that we could have some corned beef today.'”
He calls it a good pardon, but he still honors his faith with this sacrifice.
“I did not eat meat Wednesday and Thursday just to still continue the tradition,” said Lebo.