Did you decide where my friend and I dined last week? It was Laux Brickhouse Grille, 212 N. Prairie St. in Bethalto. They have specials every day in a friendly, inviting atmosphere!
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A family member was in town from another state, and I wanted to take her somewhere special. At the same time, I needed to review somewhere I had never been. I found a place that suited my needs perfectly.
We went to a building that used to house an elementary school. As soon as we entered, we noticed we were standing on a foyer floor made of a mosaic of broken mirrors. A short flight of stairs led up and another led down. The wall with the “down” staircase featured a mural of an enormous peacock, with small brass hearts decorating its front. We went up to a hallway with an open door, and the delicious aroma of freshly brewed coffee drew us in.
I don’t mean to dwell on floors, but I immediately noticed the original wood flooring of 1 ½ inch slats. Stained glass panels across the windows collected and diffused the morning sunlight. To the immediate right of the door, shelves displayed wares for sale, prisms, bottles, beaded hair decorations, T-shirts and other items. A turntable and a selection of vinyl LPs were there, too. I stopped short to examine these, as my family member went to order.
An oblong table was placed in the middle of the room with benches down each long side. It appeared to be hand-crafted and was beautiful. Hard pine “teacher’s chairs” were on the short ends. A pair of upholstered chairs cuddled near a round table at the far end of the room. Square tables were lined along the walls with the windows, and a padded bench provided more seating on the wall closer to the door.
There were so many things to look at, but the effect was not crowded or junky. A stuffed goat’s head, wearing bells, appeared to observe the customers. Books, paintings of flamingos and a large, antique frame decorated the walls. Chalkboards were also incorporated into the décor.
The shop specializes in its own specialty coffee and also features blends from around the country. There is a large variety of tea and chai, plus quiche, soup, hummus and baked goodies. Gluten-free selections are available. My family member ordered espresso, which was delivered on a wooden charger with a champagne flute of seltzer water and a small bunch of sugared, frozen grapes. For my regular dining companion and myself, I ordered a broccoli-chicken quiche, a slice of blueberry coffee cake and a cookie. We chose glasses of naturally caffeine-free herbal tea. The glass rims were dipped in turbinado sugar. Our orders were delivered to us, but a small table held sweeteners, napkins, and anything else that one might need.
Our herbal tea was $3.50 a glass, the quiche was $4.75, the coffee cake was $2.50, and the cookie was $1.
The highly decorated restrooms are down the hall. After eating, we strolled around, looking at other businesses in the building. I highly recommend visiting this hideaway and its neighbor shops.
Overall – 5 stars
Service – 5 stars
Cleanliness – 5 stars
Food – 5 stars
Do you think you can figure out where this unique shop is? Check out the next issue of AdVantage News to see if you are correct!
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