D’Arcy’s Pint is a family-friendly Irish themed bar/restaurant that opened in 1998 and moved to its new, bigger location in May of 2005. What drew it to Roadfood’s attention is its horseshoe sandwich … also known as a heart attack on a plate.
D’Arcy’s serves over a dozen varieties of horseshoe, which is the signature open-face sandwich of Springfield, Illinois. The basic version is two pieces of Texas toast with meat placed on each slice, served with either a traditional or spicy white cheese sauce and what seems like a pound of crinkle cut fries. Meat choices include corned beef, walleye, Italian sausage, and breaded pork tenderloin. A favorite is the Buffalo chicken horseshoe, served with a side of hot sauce and blue cheese dressing. If someone in your party is not interested in consuming a pint (horseshoe) or half-pint (pony shoe), the menu also features traditional Irish favorites, pizza, all sorts of good bar food, and such other sandwiches as breaded pork tenderloins, muffalettas, New York-style corned beef, and Reubens.
Local lore generally places the birth of the horseshoe at the Leland Hotel in 1928. (The Leland closed in the 1970s.) The original version was an open-faced sandwich consisting of two slices of thick, toasted bread with ham on top of each piece, along with a scattering of French fries. The ham vaguely resembled a horse’s hoof, the French fries a farrier’s nails, and the plate an anvil. As for the cheese sauce added on top, that varies from place to place in Springfield, but most published recipes use something similar to Welsh rarebit. Its typical ingredients include beer, egg yolks, butter, Worcestershire sauce, cheddar cheese, and a combination of spices. Today, ham is just one of many meats offered by all horseshoe restaurants, many of which even can make vegetarian versions.