The restaurant reviewed last week was Great Rivers Tap and Grill inside the Atrium Hotel and Conference Center. In my humble opinion, the food and service could not be improved upon!
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My regular dining companion and I pass this week’s restaurant several times a month and figured it was finally time to check it out. We could see from the street there was an open-air patio stretching across the front of the building, with a black-iron fence, tables and chairs. There was plenty of parking. We parked near the handicapped spots and took the closest door, only to be faced with a short set of stairs — not handicapped-friendly! There was a ramp on the opposite side of the building.
The first thing I noticed was that the bar was underlit, both inside and out, by lights that changed color every two minutes or so. There were booths and tables. We chose a booth. Laminated menus, two kinds of steak sauce, hot sauce, catsup, mustard, salt and pepper were on each table. Six televisions stretched across the wall over the booths. One TV repeated local ads and the live music schedule for the restaurant. A large, glass-walled room with its own bar was empty but perfectly suited for an overflow crowd. On the other side of the tap room was a dance hall and raised platform for a band.
Our server came over to get our drink orders. We both requested lemonade. She came back a few minutes later with one glass of lemonade, saying the machine was getting changed over and she would have the second glass for us soon. The glass she served was watery and nearly tasteless. When she brought the other glassful, she refilled my glass. By comparing the two glasses, one could immediately tell she had added more lemonade to the watery stuff still in my glass. I requested that my glass be poured out and a fresh glass be served. She apologized and complied immediately.
She brought us flatware-in-a-napkin when she returned to take our orders. We made our selections from the burger menu. My companion ordered a Classic burger, while I requested a Hawaiian with chicken instead of beef and the addition of bacon. Our server said, “Fries?” then sped away before I could ask any questions. I would have preferred the house-made chips, but she left too quickly.
We watched the television closest to us, which was directly over our booth, while waiting for our orders. It advertised the burgers as “the best in town.”
When our food arrived, we each received an extra napkin. I was dismayed to find the fries were over-seasoned and very salty. I could not eat them all, and gave more than half to my companion, who said they were saltier than his serving. He also said he doubted his burger was “the best in town,” but it was very good. I mentioned we were in a rather small town. My sandwich was all over the place. I had to cut it in half to pick it up, but the chicken and pineapple kept sliding off the barbecue sauce-saturated bun. In spite of that, it was delicious and I finished every bite.
The restrooms were clean, spacious and had everything necessary. The only light fixture in the room for women was over the mirror, leaving the two seats shadowed.
We paid from the table. The Classic and fries were $7.95; the Hawaiian and fries, with the addition of bacon, were $9.20, and each lemonade was $2. By the way, the lemonade was very good once the machine was changed over.
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