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 guess what the restaurant was that was reviewed last time? It was Frank’s Restaurant, located at 132 W. MacArthur Drive in Cottage Hills. I loved the generous portions, attentive service and tasty food. This eatery is much improved by its move from its previous location!
When my dining companion drove up to this week’s restaurant, I noticed that the parking lot was very full. I was concerned that we would not be able to get a table. Upon entering, the marvelous aroma of hickory-smoked barbecue hit me right in the olfactory center of my brain. I noticed a rack of bagged dinner buns for sale near the door. There was plenty of room and we were able to sit anywhere we liked.
The sign outside advertised a special dinner for two, and that is what we ordered. The dining area was spacious and well-lit. There were paintings and prints of local landmarks on the walls. A host brought us menus and flatware, and we had extra napkins and two bottles of barbecue sauce, one spicy and one sweet, in a copper container on the table. Our server brought our water with thick slices of lemon and took our order.
I took a little time to check out the restrooms before our food arrived. I was very pleased. The restroom I used was sparkling clean and had tasteful decorations all around the, ahem, seating area. There were five coat hooks available, one on the door and four others on a rack. The other restroom was also clean and well-appointed.
The food was waiting when I returned to the table. There was a platter with an entire rack of ribs, divided into 10 portions. We both had slices of buttered Texas toast, and we each had our choice of side items; my companion had a vinegar-based cole slaw and cheesy potatoes. I had green beans and cheesy potatoes. The green beans were mixed with pork bits and were delicious; the potatoes were like macaroni and cheese had married potato salad and had an amazing child.
Our server was never still a minute, helping to dish up desserts as well as taking care of diners. While eating, I turned an ear to a conversation that a couple nearby was having with a different worker. I noticed that they had ordered dinner salads, and one diner attested that the Caesar salad here tasted better than those served at a national seafood restaurant down the highway. Another diner said she was starving and ordered barbecue nachos. I snuck a peek at the dish after it was delivered and it looked great, with pulled pork over the regular nacho fare. I couldn’t get a very close look because most people object to someone salivating over their food. I saw another set of the nachos being taken to a different table with large jalapeño slices on top.
The ribs were wonderful, and even though there were plenty of them, we left nothing but the bones. For dessert, we had a choice of blackberry or apple cobbler with a little scoop of ice cream on top, all included in the special price. I thought that this was a seasonal promotion for February, but I learned later that the dinner for two is a regular menu item.
Cleanliness - four and a half stars
Food - four and a half stars
Wait staff - four and a half stars
Overall - four and a half stars
Are you able to recognize this home of hickory-smoked goodness? Check the next issue of AdVantage News to see if you got it right!
The Secret Diner