The thing that always surprises me when having at meal at Digger’s Ales and Eats on Riverhead’s West Main Street is just how good the food is — especially given the fact that it doesn’t really need to be.
Digger’s is a neighborhood Irish pub and could probably get away with serving mediocre burgers, run-of-the-mill French onion soup and dried out potato skins and still draw a hefty crowd on Friday nights. But on my visits over the years — and there’s been many — I’ve had flavorful pasta dishes, addictive happy hour wings and one of my favorites, the marinated filet tidbits.
Couple those tasty dishes with an extensive menu of local beers and you have one of the most consistently solid spots in Riverhead. A locally owned standout, especially in comparison to the many Route 58 chain restaurants. It’s large enough for an after work happy hour, but is great for family outings or dinners for two.
And it’s fitting that we chose this Irish-themed neighborhood favorite as our weekly lunch pick today, St. Patrick’s Day.
On a recent visit I chose the chicken pot pie off the restaurant’s lunch menu. A creamy mix of chicken, peas and carrots is served under a heaping portion of mashed potatoes with a side of Irish soda bread ($10). Note that the dish is served in a ceramic bowl without a flaky crust.
Still, it’s comfort food for when you are waiting for the warmer weather to get here. And one of the best lunch deals in town.
Expect the bar and restaurant to be packed today with people clamoring for some corned beef, cabbage and copious amounts of local beer. But what better place to be on the day celebrating Ireland’s patron saint.
Diggers Ales and Eats is located at 58 W. Main Street in Riverhead. Reach them at (631) 369-3200.