Earlier this year, a new bar and grille opened in Bettendorf and we've been wanting to give it a try. On a Monday night date night not long ago, my wife and I decided to give Riverside Grille a try for dinner.
Riverside Grille is owned by Jim Mohr and Rich Sampson who also own the popular Parkside Grille over across the river in Moline. Riverside Grille could be classified as a sports bar/grille as they feature 18 flat screen televisions mounted throughout the place. It had a slick, contemporary feel to the place.
It was around 6:30 when we went inside Riverside Grille. The "riverside" name is a misnomer - it's not on the river. In fact, you can't even see the Mississippi River from the place. The Isle of Capri Casino sits between the restaurant and the river. It's situated in a strip mall on the south side of State Street in Bettendorf. (see map)
We were greeted by a young lady who escorted us to a table in the middle of the restaurant. She dropped off a couple menus and our server, Jenessa, came over to greet us shortly after that.
The first thing that impressed me was the admirable selection of locally brewed beers that Riverside Grille had to offer. The Quad Cities has a handful of local breweries that made some pretty good beers.
The food at Riverside Grille is mainly the usual pub fare - appetizers, sandwiches and burgers along with salads and wraps. They also have daily specials that are off the menu. The special that evening was a barbecued pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw on top of the pulled pork. Sounded interesting, but I was looking for something else.
They had a pork tenderloin sandwich on the menu that sort of grabbed my attention. But I finally decided to get the Angus beef burger with Swiss cheese, bacon and mushrooms. I got two sides with it and chose the onion tanglers - basically onion straws - but was at a loss as to what to choose for my other side. Jenessa said, "Our cole slaw is very good. And I really like our baked beans." I went with the baked beans.
Surprisingly - at least to me - Cindy chose the reuben sandwich. I can't tell you the last time I was with Cindy when she ordered a reuben. She got fries and she asked Jenessa if the cole slaw was made in-house. Jenessa said that it was and Cindy took her word on it and ordered the cole slaw.
The Angus burger was really nothing more than a processed burger that Riverside Grille got from a local food purveyor. It was a tad overcooked and somewhat lifeless in taste. The Swiss cheese, bacon and mushrooms helped with the overall taste, but it was a pretty basic burger patty. The onion tanglers were overcooked and too crispy for my taste. And the baked beans - they tasted like they were basically beans out of a can warmed up. Overall, my meal was pretty underwhelming.
Cindy's reuben came on marbled rye bread. The fries appeared to be handcut and the cole slaw was served in the same small tub that my beans came in. Cindy tried the cole slaw first and she said, "Oh, there is NO way this cole slaw was made back in their kitchen." She could tell it was the garden variety bland cole slaw that was bought from a food distributor.
And the corned beef they used in the reuben was ultra-salty. I don't salt anything, but Cindy will put salt on some of her foods. For her to declare the corned beef as very salty, well, it HAD to be very salty In fact, later on that evening her lips became puffy. She said it was from all the salt in the corned beef. She wasn't impressed with the sandwich.
Another interesting point about Riverside Grille. I went to use the restroom and I walked into what was one of the smallest men's restroom I've ever encountered in a sports bar. It was basically a toilet and that was it. I could almost imagine a Monday night with football on and a good crowd on hand with a long line outside the men's as only one guy can use the facilities at a time. For a place that had a marked emphasis on sports - especially with 18 televisions throughout the place - it didn't seem like the restroom was planned out very well.
We've since been back to Riverside Grille on a couple other occasions - once to have drinks with some of our neighbors and another time to give it a second try on the food. The service during all of our visits has been very good, but the food didn't improve much - if at all - from our first visit. I mean, it's all right for bar food. But as nice as the place appears to be on the inside and out, the food doesn't live up to the promise. It's a good place to visit and to watch some sports while you're sipping a beer or a mixed drink. But the food is a little under par compared to what we thought it could - or should - be.