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January 6, 2009 at 12:30 PM

“Let’s go to Mick Kelly’s” — and other ideas for dining in Burien

I don’t get to Burien much. In fact, the last time I was there it was to sing the praises of the Elliott Bay Brewhouse & Pub, and that was too long ago according to Guy and Pam Harper. The Burien couple wrote last week to put in the good word for several local dining places.

Mick Kelly’s Irish Pub is excellent and was named Burien’s Outstanding Business for the year 2007,” they said. “They have raised thousands of dollars for various causes through auctions and donations.” The Harpers are also fans of the “low-key and enjoyable” 909 Coffee & Wine — “a wonderful place to meet for lunch and dinner.” And their review of Bistro Baffi Italian Cuisine — “a very, very fine restaurant” owned by a chef and host Michael Vujovich, is “simply outstanding” in their estimation.

Anyway, when we got skunked Sunday night after arriving, with two hungry kids at the unexpectedly closed Abruzzi’s in Normandy Park (after driving an hour, in the snow, as I mentioned yesterday), Nate’s best friend Ciara was on the same page as the Harpers: “Let’s go to Mick Kelly’s!” she shouted. And so we did:

Mac and I each ordered a pint of Manny’s, while Nate had a fresh-squeezed lemonade and Ciara drank something fizzy with whipped cream on top as a precursor to her chicken fettucine-hold-the-chicken:

Here’s the part where you’re supposed to say: “OK, the Harpers live in Burien. Of course they love Mick Kelly’s. Now explain why a curly-haired 10-year-old from Edmonds is hip to Burien’s Irish hangout.” Well, let’s just say that you haven’t lived till you heard little Ciara (that’s KEE-rah, pronounced the Irish way) affect an Irish accent and order up a Guinness. Gets a laugh out of me and my family every time.

As it turns out, our young gal-pal’s a regular down in Burien, where Mick Kelly’s Irish Pub is named for her uncle Mick Purdy and his friend and business partner Kelly Adrian. What’s more, Ciara’s Belfast-born mother, Lorraine, can be found working part-time at her the pub, taking orders for pints ‘o Guinness, Irish stew, fish ‘n chips and other pub grub — like this plate o’ corned beef and cabbage:

Lorraine has been known to charm customers with an accent that — unlike her wee one’s — isn’t affected. Though when I’m lifting one in her presence, we’re usually sitting in one or the other of our backyards or kitchen tables yakking about our kids. I’ll never forget the summer day lovely Lorraine showed-off her lily-white calves, complaining, “Look at me legs! They look like a pint ‘o milk!” At which point I lifted my pant-leg, showed off mine and said, “Look at me legs. They look like like a gallon!”

I’ve always wanted to go to “Uncle Mick’s,” and having had the chance, I was pleased to find a fine troubadour — a fella named Bernie — playing Irish folks songs. Including a classic of the genre whose refrain, appropriately enough, went: “Whiskey, whiskey, Nancy whiskey. Whiskey, whiskey, Nancy O.” Which, given the weather that night, wasn’t a half-bad idea since Mac was driving and I was a nervous wreck in all that snow.

So, where do you like to eat in Burien? And when it comes to lifting a pint ‘o beer along side a plate of corned beef and cabbage here in the Greater Seattle area, which Irish pub do you frequent?

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