I trekked to the southern border of Madison County for my latest food adventure. My dad and I visited a chain joint with only this location in Illinois and the next closest west of St. Louis, heading into central Missouri. It is more commonly found in the south.
With a western theme and hearty meal choices to boot, this is a great gathering place for larger groups and an overall fun time.
It sits not far off of the interstate, intertwined in with slew of other businesses. Take a frontage road to your destination, and it does stand solo with a spacious parking lot to serve plenty of patrons.
Once you enter the parking lot, you’ll see a small patio to the left of the entrance for outdoor dining on warm days. There is a mural of a country singer holding a guitar and sporting a cowboy hat painted on a yellow wall.
Enter the establishment through a small vestibule and come face-to-face with the host/hostess station. Pictures of Wild Bill, Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane and Jesse James adorn the walls near the entrance.
As for the dining experience, there are lots of small dining areas dispersed through small rooms, making for a little more intimate setting. There is one large dining area with a high ceiling, too. It has western murals on the wall, a deer head hanging up, mounted fish; just an outdoor and western theme.
But while the atmosphere was quirky and cool, I was there for the grub and it was pretty good. To start, each table is served rolls with butter and honey. That was a good start to the eating experience.
Steaks are the specialty here, so I chose the 12-ounce Hawaiian ribeye with a baked sweet potato and fried okra. Dad went with a 6-ounce sirloin, house salad and the baked sweet potato.
Okra is a great comfort food for me. Here there wasn’t anything special about it, but it met my expectations to please my palate.
The steak was very good, but originally came out pretty rare and I had to send it back. I ordered it medium well. Our waitress was quick to fix the mistake and when it returned it was perfect. There was a great char on the edges, but it was tender in the middle. The taste was driven by the teriyaki and pineapple juices from the marinate. Grilled pineapple slices garnished the top of it and were tender and delicious.
I can’t lie though, the star of the meal was the sweet potato. It was loaded with butter and brown sugar and melt-in-your-mouth tender. The flavor was popping in every bite. It was one of the best I’ve had in awhile.
While the steaks were very good, they aren’t the best I’ve had, but for the price point it’s well worth checking this place out. There are plenty of other cool options on the extensive menu, too.
Grab yourself a filet mignon wrapped in applewood smoked bacon, an 18-ounce T-bone, or a 16-ounce ribeye. There are also awesome options like pork chops, fried chicken, mesquite grilled salmon, blackened salmon, fried catfish, a slew of burger, sandwich and salad options, and plenty more. Appetizers like onion tanglers and chipotle chicken nachos don’t sound like they’d disappoint either.
Any idea of the name of this restaurant? Check the puzzle solutions in the April edition of Advantage to see if you are right.
Overall - three and a half stars
Cleanliness - four stars
Service - three stars
Food - three and a half stars
Price - $$