ALTON — The new Main Street 4204 Brewing Co. has expanded to open its doors in the Riverbend at 180 E. Center Drive in Alton. Taking root in the former Texas Roadhouse location by Alton Square Mall, 4204 offers a humble and welcoming atmosphere with a personal touch and attention to detail around every corner.
“We knew this would be a great location when we got it up and running,” 4204 Manager Tom Larson said. “We spent two and a half solid months gutting, renovating and cleaning to get where we are today. Todd (Kennedy, owner) wanted everything to have that elegant touch with special points of interests like the waterfall, the fireplace and the bathrooms are suitable for a four-star establishment.”
Gracing the interior walls of 4204 are photos taken at the Belleville brewery location by one of their own employees, Brad Potts.
“Brad’s photos give the restaurant that touch we were looking for,” Larson said. “His photos show so many different aspects of the brewing process and they give that classy but rugged feeling that can appeal to everyone. They set a great tone.”
Beer lovers are the true inspiration for the 4204 Brewing Co. and making sure they cater to the desires of their fans and continuing to evolve to attract new admirers is their top priority.
“We feel there are three types of beer drinkers we wish to satisfy, which is why we have such a diverse beer list,” Larson said. “The first group is people who feel comfortable drinking local beer like Anheuser-Busch products. We provide blondes and lagers for them. Second is the casual craft beer drinker, those who might prefer that middle-of-the-road darker or flavored beer — a wheat beer. Then you have the hardcore ‘hop heads’ who really like IPAs (India pale ale) and that taste and aroma of the hops. We like to have three to four IPAs, a good blend of the middle-of-the-road beers and three standard amber and blonde lagers. We will also run seasonal beers like a peach blonde or strawberry blonde. “
Already an award-winning product, the 4204 Main Street Brewing Co. picked up a Gold Medal in Portland in the Octoberfest-Marzen category.
“We’re always expanding our beer list,” Larson said. “Tony Toenjes is our brewmaster. At any given time we can go to him with an idea and within a couple of months he can come up with a brew that matches what we’re looking for. At the brewery right now, we have a pepper beer. We haven’t brought it to the Alton location yet, but it’s coming.”
Tom and Lisa Larson’s goal for 4204 is to be a quality steakhouse that has excellent beer.
“We serve 100 percent certified Angus beef,” Larson said. “We are the number one purchaser of that level of beef in the St. Louis region. We price our products at a very reasonable price because we move a lot of meat, age, cut and cook our own meat.”
After talking the talk, it was time for 4204 to walk the walk. My husband, Chlorus, joined me for lunch to see what the buzz was about.
Friendly faces and welcoming smiles greeted us just inside the door as we tried to beat the lunch rush. A mirrored waterfall with the company logo was the first thing that caught our eye. Large classy black-and-white photos showcasing the 4204 brewing process were highlighted on the carefully thought-out decorated walls. The woodwork, fireplace and black ceilings matched the furniture’s colors and were comfortable to sit on.
Our server, Amy, was quickly at our table to take our drink and appetizer order. We requested the stuffed mini-portabella mushrooms made with a ricotta cream cheese blend with spinach and served with beet-horseradish sauce. The mushrooms had a great texture and the different flavors blended well with one another. My husband, who likes his horseradish, was really surprised how well it went with the mushrooms.
Being a steakhouse, I wanted to order a steak to check out the quality of the meat and the masterful hand of the chef. I chose a 12-ounce sirloin to share with my husband. I like my steaks cooked medium well, which can dry out a steak a little and make it chewy.
Chef Patrick McGarry did an excellent job with the steak (even pleasantly surprised my extremely picky husband) with the flavor and tenderness of the meat.
My husband went with the seafood pasta. The description read that it was a full pound of mussels with shrimp in a cream (alfredo-parmesan) sauce with garlic, red pepper and blonde ale served on fresh fettuccine. What we didn’t expect was to see a full pound of mussels ... still in the shells. The presentation was surprisingly really appetizing, eye-catching and fun. My husband didn’t mind taking the mussels from the shells and the usually bitter taste of a mussel was not overpowering. The shrimp was cooked perfectly and the sauce was not so heavy that you felt stuffed quickly.
Local servers were able to answer questions for us concerning the flavors and consistencies of the different dishes ... because they’ve actually tried it themselves. Haley Yarborough of Hartford and Tara Wall of East Alton were very insightful on the menu and gave great details on the menu items.
Overall the experience at the Main Street 4204 was impressive with great food, a friendly and knowledgeable staff and a welcoming environment. I know we will be recognizable clients at their establishment in the future.