The restaurant featured last week was Fast Eddie’s Bon Air, 1530 E. Fourth St. in Alton. I had a Big Elwood for $3.99 and a Red Dog for $2.99. My friend had a half-pound Fat Eddie cheeseburger for $2.39 and a bratwurst for $2.99. Our juice drinks were $2.50 each. The menu prices online are no longer accurate. If you visit on your 21st birthday, you get a free T-shirt!
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It seems as though my regular dining companion and I find the best places when we are just tooling around. We had been shopping and stumbled onto a fundraiser outside a big box store. With our overpriced bag of peanuts, we were given a coupon for a free appetizer at a place I had never heard of before. We drove to the new restaurant but were told we would have to wait an hour for a table for two. We left. After driving for a while, we found a different place that looked promising and drove in.
We parked on the side of the red brick building, equidistant between the front and back doors. I went up a ramp onto the outside patio and tried to go in the back door, in spite of the exit sign over the door and my companion’s insistence that I was going the wrong way. A server let us in, anyway.
We found ourselves in a large, square dining room filled with a few round tables and many square tables. A bar was in the corner of the room, with a large flat-screen TV on the wall behind it. We were directed to the lobby to register. I saw a small table with mints and toothpicks (yay!) off to the side. On the other side of the desk was a separate, rectangular dining room. We were taken back to the square dining room and given flatware-in-a-napkin and menus. Our server took our drink orders and left to give us a moment to decide what we wanted. I noticed that the restaurant featured Greek, American and Italian cuisine.
I felt really hungry, so I chose a 12-ounce New York strip steak. It came with a Greek salad and a side order. I chose steamed vegetables for the side. My companion, not as hungry as I, chose a Reuben sandwich with a Greek salad.
With our orders out of the way, I took some time to look around. The dining room was tastefully decorated with large prints and mirrors. I especially liked a big, framed photo of wine corks. The chairs all matched, and had a simple decoration carved all the way through the backs. The servers wore purple, red or deep blue shirts that either said, “If we are not proud of it, we don’t serve it” or “The best gyros in town” on the back. Unfortunately, I saw the whiteboard that listed the day’s specials after I had already ordered.
I got up to check out the restrooms. They were set in a small alcove, and each had a purple door. The restrooms were clean, but not wheelchair-accessible. One was out of paper towels.
Our Greek salads were served, and they were delicious! Each had a thick slice of crusty white bread, romaine lettuce, feta cheese, a little bit of red onion, a kalamata olive (with pit) and an artistically twisted tomato slice. I enjoyed every bite. I was not quite finished with my salad when my entree arrived. The steak was cooked beautifully, and the veggies were two large cauliflower blossoms and three large broccoli blossoms. My friend’s really big Reuben sandwich was piled high with corned beef and sauerkraut, and was pronounced good.
Our friendly server checked on us multiple times, and made sure that our glasses were never more than half empty. The perfect steak cost $16.99, the Reuben was $7.99 and the drinks were $2.25 each. I was very pleased with the atmosphere, service and food. I will definitely return.
Overall – 5 stars
Service – 5 stars
Cleanliness – 4 stars
Food – 5 stars
Do you think you can figure out the name and location of the restaurant we found by accident? Check out the next issue of AdVantage News to see if you are correct!
The Secret Diner
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