The little place with the delicious island food is Big John’s Cuban Cafe, 144 E. Ferguson Ave. in Wood River. My friend’s sandwich was the Big John’s Cuban, deservedly described as “addicting.” I had the Elena Ruz, which was like nothing I had ever eaten before, but I plan to eat it again!
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My dining companion and I have tried several times to visit a particular restaurant and lounge but always found it closed. This time, we planned our visit and were delighted to find it open. It consists of three historic buildings that have been joined together, so there are three doors facing the street. The one on the far right looked closed down. We could see that there were no lights on behind the door in the middle. The door on the far left was open and there were lit neon signs in the windows, so that is where we went in.
We found ourselves in a spacious barroom. The bar stretched the full length of the room, with bar stools along it. There was a large flat-screen television over the main door, surrounded by Denver Broncos memorabilia. I saw a jukebox, two swords and many other interesting items all over the walls. There were wooden booths and square tables, so seating was plentiful. The adjoining room (with the middle door) had a pool table. A pleasant, portly man asked us to seat ourselves in the bar, because the dining room was closed for an indefinite time.
He took our drink orders and gave us menus and flatware-in-a-napkin. We each requested lemonade. The restaurant had Greek, Mexican and Italian cuisine, and each one had a separate page on the menu. I immediately knew I would not order the “burrito from hell” as it sounded way too spicy for me! I chose lasagna, and my companion ordered crayfish and chicken nachos from the appetizer menu.
The lemonade was not very tart, nor too sweet. Our server (the only person we saw) kept our glasses filled. I must have been parched because I know I drank four pints (or maybe five.)
The restrooms were clean and well-supplied. The women’s room walls were half tile and papered with a pleasing old-fashioned flower motif on the upper walls. The men’s room was tiled all the way up. I spent a few minutes reading comments left by previous patrons on the wooden surfaces. I really think that if one wants to leave his or her thoughts in a public place, he or she should make sure to spell said thoughts correctly.
The crayfish came in a basket with a little cup of cocktail sauce. I tried one and found it spicy, although my companion protested it was not spicy at all. As soon as my friend had finished the crayfish, our nachos and lasagna arrived. The portions were huge! The nachos were covered with tomatoes, sour cream, pico de gallo, cheese and black olives to the extent that I could not see the corn chips or chicken. The lasagna was in a bowl placed on a charger. The bowl was filled to the brim. I was also given four pieces of toasted white bread that had just a hint of garlic. Perfect!
We were unable to finish all this deliciousness, so we took it home. I asked our server if he had made it himself, and he said no, it was made by his mom. We also took home a slice of brownie cheesecake and one of carrot cake. We paid from the table. The crayfish was $8.99, the nachos were $9, the lasagna was $12, the drinks were $2 each and the desserts were each $4.50.
Overall – 5 stars
Service – 5 stars
Cleanliness – 5 stars
Food – 5 stars
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