secret diner Fiona's .jpg
Small wonder

If you’re looking for a quaint, community diner with affordable prices, friendly service and a simple setup great for the family, then this place on the western border of Madison County is it.

This joint has been intertwined with its small community for a while. It sits at a busy intersection along a main road through town. The name of the restaurant is prominent on the front of the building in big red letters on a black awning. 

There is a paved parking lot in front of the establishment with a few spaces, along with additional parking on the side. Once parked, enter through a small vestibule leading into the dining room.

Straight in front of you is a small diner counter with the kitchen behind it. Look to your left and you’ll see the open dining room with booths lining the outside walls with blue, flowered padded backs. There are also cream-colored tables throughout the middle of the room. A wood laminate flooring completes the simplistic diner atmosphere. 

The bathrooms are tucked in the back corner. Near the restrooms is a door leading to a small covered patio setup for outdoor dining. This is also the smoking section for patrons. 

A couple TVs hang from the ceiling for entertainment and the diner vibe continues with generic food art decorating the walls. There are also white blinds on the small windows.

Open seven days a week, this place only serves breakfast and lunch, with hours from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The hours welcome a primarily older clientele. The service is outstanding here with a friendly staff staying on top of the customers’ wants and needs with a warm smile. The main attraction though is the food, and that’s why I recently visited with my dad.

This joint provides a huge menu with eclectic choices. I was drawn to the monster burger with a side of green beans, while dad went with popcorn shrimp accompanied with fries and coleslaw.

My burger was indeed a monster. It consisted of a charbroiled beef patty enhanced with a slice of ham, a couple strips of bacon, fresh tomato, ketchup and completed with a sunny side up egg. 

The addition of the egg was sensational. It provided a creaminess to the whole concoction as it popped and cascaded warm yolk over everything with the first bite. While that flavor blast was awesome, the ham was the driving force in the taste. It gave a salty, but hearty, taste to everything. The bun was also big in the experience. It was grilled and added a powerful crunch on its edges, but remained soft and doughy in the middle. The fresh tomato also added to the deliciousness and most importantly, it was extremely filling.

The green beans were pretty pedestrian. They tasted like generic canned cut green beans. I still applaud the opportunity to have a healthy side compared to something fried.

Dad was happy with his shrimp and I pilfered a couple of bites from his slaw and fries. The fries were very good, packed with a hearty taste and a little flakiness. They were very tender in the middle. The slaw was super sweet, which made for a great splash on the flavor spectrum.

Dad finished off his meal with a slice of peach pie. The dessert was part of the senior menu. This place understands its loyal clientele and takes care of them.

There is also an extensive breakfast menu here that is very good, accompanied by a lunch menu that goes from Italian, to Mexican, to Greek, to steaks, chicken, soups, salads and sandwiches: a little bit for everybody.

If I have one knock, it’s the lack of online visibility and marketing for this place. Online menus are outdated, there is no website and the Facebook page is also outdated. A better online presence could help promote the awesomeness of this place’s menu and expand their loyal customer base.

Any idea of the name of this family diner in western Madison County? 

 

Overall - four stars

Cleanliness - four stars

Service - five stars

Food - four stars

Price - $

 

ANSWER: Fiona’s Family Restaurant, 595 E. Edwardsville Road, Wood River