The most recent review was about Mel’s Illinois RiverDock Restaurant, 501 N. Park St. in Hardin, Calhoun County. If you are driving north (as I assume you would), just take a left after you cross the Joe Page bridge, drive a block or two, and there you are!
• • •
My regular dining companion pointed out the current eatery to me after a free brochure listing several dining establishments arrived in the mail. We drove there in the afternoon, walked directly into the main room and took seats at a long table that would sit 12. An identical table was behind us, and there were a couple of high, round tables and a lot of bar seating. The walls were red and brown brick, and the oddly shaped bar was, too. Two restrooms were down a short hall to the left of the bar. The hallway also had brick walls, and behind the bar was a pool room. This room was set off from the main room by a set of brick archways. Really nice! In the main room, near the door, there were five video gaming machines and a machine for video golf along with an ATM that would pay out winnings from these games. The walls near the band area held a beautiful red electric guitar in a framed case and a digital jukebox across from it. Add neon beer signs and a whiteboard advertising taco Tuesdays, and that is about everything. We had come on a band night, and the band was setting up lights for its performance later on. This was a bit uncomfortable, as the brilliantly bright lights kept getting in my eyes.
There was quite a lot of activity for early afternoon, and it appeared that one person was handling all the customers herself. The table had laminated menus, so we were able to decide what we wanted by the time she was able to get to us. We chose to drink water. My companion chose chili-cheese nachos at $7 from the appetizers menu, while I went for a cod fillet on a hoagie roll for $6 and added onion rings for $4. We each made a quick visit to a restroom, where everything necessary was close at hand, and when we returned to the table, our food came right out.
The food was in brown, rectangular plastic baskets, lined with paper. My cod fillet was long, sticking out from the hoagie roll on both ends. I had some onion, dill pickle slices and tartar sauce on the side. The onion rings took up all the remaining room in the basket. My friend’s chili-cheese nachos took up his entire basket as well. We had been given flatware-in-a-napkin but I never even unwrapped mine, as I was busy enjoying the yummy onion rings and delicious cod sandwich. My friend dug into the nachos, and all conversation ceased for a time. He later said the nachos had reminded him of his college days, when a nacho cart sold chili-cheese nachos between classes.
I went up to the bar to pay and commented on how great the food was. Our server thanked me, as she had cooked it herself. Although she handled everything very well, that was a lot for one person to do. Too bad we were too early to hear the band perform.
Overall - five stars
Cleanliness - four stars
Service - five stars
Food - five stars
Can you figure out the name and location of this bar and grill? Check the next issue of AdVantage News to see if you are correct!