No, it is not a hard-to-find restaurant, but a new column for AdVantage News! Each week the Secret Diner will post a review of a River Bend eating establishment. The Secret Diner will not review chain or franchise restaurants, only privately owned ones. About the rating system: zero stars would mean avoid at all costs, one star is pretty bad, two stars is merely fair, three stars is OK, four stars is good, and five stars is perfect! Before posting a negative review, the Secret Diner will give the establishment a second chance at a different time of day. See if you can determine the name and location of the restaurant under review! The answer will appear in next week’s column.
Did you figure out where my companion and I dined last week? It was Roper’s Regal Beagle Sports Bar and Grill, located at 3043 Godfrey Road in Godfrey. If you go, be sure to check out the huge wooden beagle standing outside, wearing a crown and holding a frothy mug.
My steady dining companion and I walked into this recently remodeled restaurant on a weekend afternoon. I immediately noticed that the restrooms were now down a hall, instead of next to the kitchen where they used to be. They were larger than before. The drafts that plagued the old restrooms had disappeared, and the water was warm. A large cabinet with a smooth top was in the women’s room, suitable for placing a bag on or changing a child.
One could see that the painting was not completely done and the walls were bare of decoration. I missed the whiteboards that advertised the specials of the day. The food, however, was as good as it ever was. I ordered a Monte Cristo sandwich with fries and chicken and dumpling soup. It was at this same restaurant that a server showed me how good a Monte Cristo is when dipped in maple syrup. That particular server was no longer there, but the lesson remained. It makes sense to me, because basically, a Monte Cristo is French toast stuffed with meat, right? The sandwich has been credited to the Monte Cristo Hotel in Everett, Wash., which was named after the Monte Cristo region of the Cascades Mountains. The Monte Cristo is traditionally supposed to be served with a little pot of jam, but I have never seen one served that way here in the Midwest.
My companion ordered a Reuben sandwich and fries with stuffed pepper soup. Our server asked if Thousand Island dressing was desired. How can you have a Reuben without Thousand Island dressing? There are several stories about the origin of the Reuben, with its beginnings set either in Omaha, Neb.; Lincoln, Neb., or New York City. A Reuben should always be made on dark or marble rye bread, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and with either Russian or Thousand Island dressing, named after the Thousand Island area of upstate New York. The little flecks of color in the dressing represent the many islands in that part of the country.
We both enjoyed our respective soups and were looking forward to the sandwiches. My partner’s Reuben came with the Thousand Island dressing separately, in a sauce bowl. We thought that was odd. Do so many people dislike the salad dressing that it has to be served on the side?
Our server and hostess both seemed to be very busy. We received refills when we asked, but did not receive a smile from either one. Extra napkins came with the soups.
The dessert case was crammed with many saliva-producing goodies, including a cake in the shape of a lamb, complete with a little bell on a ribbon around its neck. It was too expensive for me, and I was full, so I ordered an éclair to take home and share later.
One pays at the cashier’s counter, and toothpicks and mints are available there. Each of our sandwich platters were $6.59, with soup or salad and fries.
Cleanliness – four and a half stars
Food – five stars
Wait staff – three and a half stars
Overall – four and a half stars
Are you able to recognize this restaurant? Check the next issue of AdVantage News to see if you are correct!
The Secret Diner