Did you puzzle out what restaurant was reviewed last time? It was S & S Sandwich Shop at 2505 State St. in Alton, right next door to Norb’s Tavern. Where else can you get an Izzy Fizzy Root Beer, bottled in Ste. Genevieve, Mo.? I just found out there is a new S & S Sandwich Shop in Jerseyville!
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Next door to a restaurant that I have reviewed before is a diner that evokes memories of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. It was established in 1905 and has been in continuous use by the same family all that time, passing from father to son. A long chrome counter extends the full length of the narrow restaurant, and behind it is all the cooking and serving equipment in plain sight. Red-seated stools, in like-new condition, stand along the entire length of the counter. Right by the door is a jukebox, and each booth has a mini-jukebox attached to the wall. Alas! They do not work, but it is cool to leaf through the selections and remember the tunes from old school days. The tops of the booth tables are white, with boomerang shapes in shades of gray. Napkins, mustard, salt, pepper and sugar are on each table, with hat and coat hooks nearby.
My companion and I had barely seated ourselves when our server brought ice water and flatware. No menus were needed because everything that is served is listed on the wall behind the counter. I chose a gyro platter, which came with corn, mashed potatoes and gravy. My companion decided on Polish sausage and sauerkraut, with peas, mashed potatoes and gravy. We both ordered root beer.
Our server did not write down our orders, but told them to the counterman, who began preparing them immediately. The server brought us two slices of buttered white bread and our fountain drinks. We saw the counterman slice the gyro meat from a vertical rotisserie and efficiently assemble our plates. There was a flat-screen television on, but no one paid any attention to it.
My companion’s food was all served on one plate. Mine was, too, except for the soft flat-bread for my gyro. I had a mound of hot sliced meat, tomato, onion and a tiny cup of tzatziki sauce. I could put it together anyway I liked. For dessert, we each had cherry pie with vanilla ice cream, which came with clean forks. There was not a crumb of any kind of food left on our plates. If it were not for the TV on the wall, we could have been transported to any time period within the last 50 years.
There is a small restroom, spotlessly clean, but one has to get to it through the kitchen. This is a cash-only establishment. I paid at the cash register after we finished eating. Toothpicks are available there. The counterman figured the price of our meal exactly ($21.50) without the use of a ticket or calculator.
Overall – 4 1/2 stars
Service – 4 1/2 stars
Cleanliness – 5 stars
Food – 4 1/2 stars
Can you decide on the name and location of this timeless, iconic diner? Check out the next issue of AdVantage News to see if you guessed correctly!
The Secret Diner
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