The Front Street Brewery on River Drive here in Davenport (see map) is a place that Cindy and I like to go to from time to time. And, quite frankly, I'm surprised I haven't written about it before. The food is good, the beer is good and it's one of those very underrated places in the Quad Cities.
First and foremost, Front Street Brewery is a brewpub that makes some pretty good beers. But they are also a surprisingly good little pub that has some good dinner specials. On the weekends, they usually have a prime rib special. But the rest of the items they have on the menu are pretty good. I can't say it's outstanding, but it's good for brewpub food.
Front Street Brewery is within walking distance to many of the entertainment venues in downtown Davenport. There's a large parking lot across the street from the brewpub that belongs to the Rhythm City Casino, but we've parked in it many times in the past when we've gone there.
Steve Zuidema and Randy Junis opened The Front Street Brewery in October of 1992. Zuidema was the brewmaster and Junis would run the restaurant's operations. They sunk a lot of money into the gutting of an old warehouse and turning it into a brewpub.
The following April of 93, the first big flood of that spring forced them to sandbag to keep the Mississippi waters out of the place. They were successful in fighting that flood, but later in the summer the Great Flood of 93 hit. The river was seven and a half feet over floodstage and it literally wiped out The Front Street Brewery.
But Zuidema and Junis cleaned things up and reopened by that fall. There's been a handful of floods since then, but nothing compared to the one in 1993. To see how close Front Street Brewery is to the Mississippi, click on the above right photo. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)
A few years ago, Zuidema's wife, Jennie Ash, came in to run the day-to-day operations. Zuidema continues to be the brewmaster today. And one of the great things about The Front Street Brewery is that it's a smoke free restaurant and has been for over a year.
There's a nice little patio out back that's nice to sit in on warm summer nights. But we usually opt to sit inside in the big wooden booths that line the west wall opposite the bar.
Before going to see Sonny Landreth a while back at the Redstone Room in downtown Davenport, we met my buddy, Randy Adams, and his girlfriend, Laurie, at Front Street for dinner. Like always, I got a glass of their Raging River Pale Ale, an English-style pale ale that is smooth and has the hoppiness of traditional pale ales. The Raging River Pale Ale is named to commemorate the Great Flood of 93. It's an above average beer, but not as good as other pale ales that I like.
We ordered an appetizer of spinach/artichoke dip served with small pieces of toasted bread before ordering our dinner. The bread and dip came out on a plate with the hot spinach/artichoke dip in the middle. We've gotten it before and it's very good. In fact, Cindy's addicted to the stuff. It's too filling for me.
For dinner, Randy and Laurie ended up sharing a plate of beef nachos; Cindy got the teriyaki grilled chicken sandwich and I got the shaved roast beef sandwich. It was busy as it was a Friday night, but we got our food in about 20 minutes.
Like the beer at Front Street, the food is above average. It's not quite as eclectic as what you find across the river at the Blue Cat Brewpub, but for basic American food, it's good. My sandwich had a lot of tender shaved roast beef in it, and it was just enough to keep me from being way too full. Cindy pulled her bun away from the chicken breast and ate it with a knife and fork. She's been trying to cut down on eating breads lately. And Randy and Laurie said their beef nachos were "top notch, buddy".
Front Street Brewery isn't all that expensive, but it isn't cheap food, either. And it shouldn't be as the food is very good. We've never had a bad meal in the place for as long as we've been going there. And the beer is more than drinkable. Like I say, The Front Street Brewery is one of those very underrated gems here in the Quad Cities.