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 week? It was Village Inn Pancake House, located at 2611 College Ave. in Alton. The food is delicious and quite reasonably priced, with all-you-can-eat specials every day. The three and a half star rating could be easily improved by just a few changes.
My dining companion and I were in a nearby town and noticed that a restaurant where we had eaten before had changed its location. We entered a large L-shaped room with many tables and ceiling fans. The short side of the L was roped off, but there was still a lot of space for diners. There were cute decorative items placed on the walls over each table. A chalkboard had the day’s dessert choices listed, and we were brought menus and flatware wrapped in a napkin a few minutes after we sat down. Heavy mugs were on each table, and each mug was advertising a local business.
My dining companion had grown up in this town and regaled me with the history of the building. According to him, it used to be a small grocery store.
It was a cool autumn day, but it was downright cold inside the building. When the server came over, she said she had recently asked for the ceiling fans to be turned off. I asked for lemonade and my companion requested water with lemon, as usual. I ordered fried chicken and my companion ordered a burger. I also ordered onion rings as an appetizer.
When the onion rings came out on a small platter, they looked lost. Perhaps if the platter had been smaller, the portion would have looked larger. I divided them up, so we each had four. I had thought there would have been more.
More napkins were brought with the food. The chicken was very good, and so was the lemonade. My companion was well satisfied with his burger. I mentioned to the server that it was still very cold inside. She reiterated that she had asked for the fans to be turned off. Perhaps she had, but several fans were still turning on the other side of the room.
I went to visit the restroom to find that there was no decor. The partitions were of wood, and the floor was well-worn textured tile. This is impossible to clean thoroughly without scrubbing on one’s hands and knees or with a buffer.
The food was delicious and reasonably priced. We were too full to consider dessert, but the chalkboard listed a good variety.
Toothpicks were available at the cashier’s desk.
Suggested Improvements — The dining area has been extensively remodeled, but the bathrooms need to be given the same attention as the rest of the building. The flooring and stalls need to be of an easy-to clean material.
Cleanliness — two and a half stars
Attentiveness of wait staff — four stars
Food — four-and-a-half stars
Overall — three and a half stars
Can you guess the name and location of this restaurant? Check the next issue of AdVantage News to see if you are correct!
The Secret Diner