You’ll need the luck of the irish to find a seat.
Schileen’s, the loveable downtown Irish pub every small town seems to have, is a fixture of Westville society. Located on the sleepy-end of Delsea Drive in the ‘gateway to South Jersey’, Schileen’s promises that ‘a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet’. They also promise you’ll love their beef sandwich, which they have sold over 120,000 of. We know that because it’s on a sign above the restaurant and apparently is updated frequently. We’re happy they’re proud of it, and we are too. Go America (we tried unsuccessfully to embed the “America The Beautiful” into this post).
Schileen’s is located almost dead-center downtown Westville, within walking distance of the local post office, a barber shop, and our highly-rated Gateway Diner. The location is a nice, local touch and it really adds for an authentic atmosphere. As opposed to the last coffee house we visited in a cement-still-drying stripmall, we found Schileen’s immediately more pleasant. The exterior of the building has a vibrant mural with the previously mentioned feel-good catch phrase. On a weekend, there is virtually no available parking, and you’ll be forced to park down the street a bit.
The interior is fairly nice, and far more modern than you’d expect from the outside. There’s a large bar, several weathered video games (seriously, are people still playing arcade golf with the trackball?), and a few nifty electronic dart boards. It was hard to gauge the overall cleanliness of the place because it was crowded, but nothing jumped out at us in that arena. We eventually found a comfortable, although small, spot against the wall which we felt offered the most privacy. The table was wobbly, but our waitress managed to shore it up a bit. With two drinks, two menus, and the plastic advertising widget with specials and so on, there was really no room for anything else on the table. The larger tables were accounted for, although we passed on an available one because it was literally surrounded by people on all sides.
The menu offerings (linked at the top) were pretty extensive; everything from quick eats to nicer dinners. We both started with some drinks – Autumn’s defacto malibu and diet coke, and my long island iced tea (Autumn teases me because I call it an “LIT” and no one seems to know that acronym). We both thought they were pretty good, but I was a bit unsure about the alcohol content of my LIT. As an interesting side note, after Autumn re-ordered her drink, it came in a different shaped glass than the previous one; she thought that was a fun change. The LIT, which is almost always served in a larger glass than Autumn’s drinks everywhere else we’ve been, seemed a little weak and only equaled the size of Autumn’s malibu. With ice stacked nearly 3/4 of the glass, I felt a little shortchanged. Next time I’m going to ask for the ice on the side. It is worth noting, however, that the drink prices were substantially lower than we’ve seen in other places, which considerably offsets any larger complaint about them. My LIT was just $5 and her malibus were just $3.75 each (all regular prices).
For an appetizer, we tried a ‘tailender’ platter which was breaded chicken drenched in Schileen’s wing sauce. We assumed they’d be small tenders or something, but they were relatively full-size thin breasts, and five of them at that. Major points for portion sizes, although in fairness it was priced almost identical to our other platters so it’s essentially another dinner. Interestingly, the platterized version, which reads as one larger breast in a torpedo roll with fries, was the same price. We both agreed that it was an excellent appetizer, especially for someone like Autumn who enjoys the taste/flavor of wings but can’t deal with the fatty skin.
For the main course, I selected a seafood quesadilla, something I figured was exotic enough for a pub. It came a good five minutes before Autumn’s seemingly more simple beef sandwich, so I had no choice but to dig in. The pressed tortilla creation was supposed to feature lump crabmeat, onions, peppers, and montery jack cheese, but unfortunately, it seemed to mostly favor everything but the crabmeat. On top of that, in physically looking at the ‘crabmeat’, it looked an awful lot like the imitation crab stuff you can buy in the store (it’s typically a blend of crab and pollock, a whitefish). Although it would have been good in itself as a vegetarian quesadilla, it seemed a bit misrepresented. When I asked the waitress, she mentioned that it gets weighed to make sure there is the proper 4oz of crabmeat. That’s about 66% of a can of tuna fish – a pittance – and I’m fairly certain it wasnt even real crab.
Autumn’s beef sandwich hit the spot, as we had expected it to (how can 120,000 people go wrong?). Although maybe a little smaller than we expected, it featured several layers of delicious roast beef under provolone cheese (which Autumn selected). Thanks to the previous appetizer that filled her up a bit, I got to try the famed sandwich myself and thought it was the superior of our dinners. It is served on a fresh, although mundane, kaiser roll with a side of au jus. We found it nearly impossible to resist saturating the entire thing in the tasty beef drippings, although I was surprised there was no complimentary side of fries or something. All told, though, it lived up to the hype.
We will warn you about weekends – it’s not for those looking for an easy seat. We attempted to review Schileen’s in the past on a Saturday night, and it was literally shoulder-to-shoulder. Even the waitresses couldn’t squeeze through. It says something about the loyal patronage of Schileen’s, but I started to wonder what the occupancy max was.
– Good service
– Inexpensive drinks
– Large appetizers
– Beef sandwich number 120,952
– 4oz of crabmeat!
– Really crowded
– Mixed drinks, mixed results
Guru’s Score: 3.7 Chews
Autumn’s Score: 3.4 Chews
Average Score: 3.55 Chews
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