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 the restaurant that was reviewed last time? It was Eagle’s Nest, located at 117 East Bethalto Drive in Bethalto. It was a very marked improvement from the previous time I had dined there! Good job, Eagle’s Nest!
My dining companion and I had a busy day, and as it started to be close to noontime, we needed to eat. We were in a historic part of town and stopped at a small restaurant. A sign outside stated that the building had been built well over 150 years ago. We entered and were warmly greeted. We were told to sit anywhere we liked. The tables and chairs all appeared to be antiques. Each table had a basket of napkins, a bowl of real butter pats, another bowl of half and half, and a pottery sugar dispenser. The day’s menu was written on two chalkboards, one at each end of the long dining hall. Occasionally, someone would come out of the kitchen and erase a menu item. Our drinks were ordered and swiftly arrived in pint canning jars.
We asked our server questions about a couple of unfamiliar menu items, and decided on hot ham and cheese sandwiches with salad for $8.99 each.
While waiting for our food, I strolled around, looking at the many handcrafted items, including new things, antiques and some beautiful quilts made 80 to 90 years ago. I could have bought three vintage handkerchiefs with handmade lace edging for $5, a new quilted pillowcase for $25, a half-gallon crock for $30 or a full-size bed quilt from 1930 for $495.
The restrooms were spotless and also decorated in a vintage style. Extra toilet paper was in a wooden box under the freestanding sink, and the mirror could have been from any time period of the last hundred years.
The modern paper towel dispenser was sanitary, useful and handy, but seemed anachronistic. Quilts for sale were also displayed there. The one in the men’s room was protected by a glass case. I am not sure why.
Our food arrived and we dug in. The sandwich was delicious from the first bite. It was made on a grilled bun and cut in half. Oh, so good! The salad was outstanding, with at least three kinds of spring greens, feta cheese, walnuts, cranberries and poppy seeds. A small handful of potato chips filled out the plate.
Our glasses never had a chance to get empty and I never had to request a refill.
Afterward, we decided to each get a brownie for $2. They came warm, with a dollop of whipped cream. We paid at the old-timey cash register and I found toothpicks there in a tiny woven basket. We left, happy and satisfied.
Cleanliness – four and a half stars
Attentiveness of wait staff – four and a half stars
Food – four and a half stars
Overall – four and a half stars
Can you guess the name and location of this restaurant? See the next issue of AdVantage News to see if you are correct!
The Secret Diner