No, it is not a hard-to-find restaurant, but a column for AdVantage News! Each week the Secret Diner will post a review of a River Bend eating establishment. The Secret Diner will not review chain or franchise restaurants, only privately owned ones. About the rating system: zero stars would mean avoid at all costs, one star is pretty bad, two stars is merely fair, three stars is OK, four stars is good, and five stars is perfect! Before posting a negative review, the Secret Diner will give the establishment a second chance at a different time of day. See if you can determine the name and location of the restaurant under review! The answer will appear in next week’s column.
Did you puzzle out what restaurant I reviewed last time? It was Cleveland-Heath at 106 N. Main St. in Edwardsville. Named for the owners, it was a five-star experience all the way around!
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I heard through the grapevine that this eatery was different and worth a visit. I drove up and was glad to see there was plenty of parking on the smooth lot. Entering the building, I was taken aback by the realization that this used to be a factory long ago. The brick walls and concrete floor were set apart by large glass panels. Everything was spotless.
As I strolled along the walkway, I noticed carefully lettered chalk signs with arrows pointing forward. A large room was set with seating around a couple of low tables. All the chairs in this section had either an antique or retro feel. The walls had photos or drawings of the business from years ago, including a huge logo from its heyday. A metal spiral staircase had metal arrows (that candles could be put inside of) still pointing forward. Then, I arrived at the dining area. It was huge. A pool table took up only a small portion of the room. Beautiful, bright wooden “parson’s tables” in varied sizes were spaced far enough apart that there was no crowding, and there was plenty of room to walk between. Each table had a number of the stainless-steel retro chairs pulled up, giving the room a cohesive feel. Large windows at one end of the room provided a lovely river view, and the bar was at the other end.
My server greeted me, provided a clipboard with the menu and produced a carafe of cold water and a beer glass of ice as if by magic. I selected pretzels made in-house, a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. My side item was specialty chips.
There were placards on each table listing the specialty beers available, the wine list and upcoming events. My server came back to talk about some of the entrées that had been recently offered, like German specialties, smoked chicken quarters and pork steak.
When my food arrived, the pretzels were little logs, each sliced in two and salted perfectly. They came with a couple of ounces of delicious whole grain mustard and a couple of ounces of beer cheese. I really liked the mustard. The grilled cheese was made of provolone, smoked Gouda, tomato and basil on sourdough bread, and was not your common, everyday grilled cheese. The tomato soup was so good, it made me want to try the soup of the day, which was pork, barley and mushroom. I ordered a cup of it to take home. The total was $19.50 for everything. I paid from the table, and plan to go again when I can stay longer.
Overall – 5 stars
Service – 5 stars
Cleanliness – 5 stars
Food – 4 1/2 stars
Can you figure out name and location of this restaurant? Check out the next issue of AdVantage News to see if you are right!