On a recent date night, my wife and I decided to head down to downtown Davenport and get some food at one of our favorite places to grab a sandwich or a burger and a beer, Sippi's. We've been going there since they first opened in 2009 and even though there was a time when the food suffered a couple three years ago, our last few visits have shown us that they've made a full recovery in the kitchen.
The owners of Sippi's - Frank and Jackie Berner - are also the longtime owners of Frackie's Pub, a favorite neighborhood hangout on Davenport's west side. In 2008 they purchased a building that dates back to 1885 at the corner of W. 2nd Street and Ripley (see map) and renovated the first two floors into a dining area and the third floor as a private banquet/party room. They put in a patio on the east side of the building with heavy metal mesh chairs and tables for outside dining. (We've since been told that they would be enclosing the outside area and putting in the industrial garage doors that seem to be popular these days to open when the weather is nice.)
This particular summer evening that we were visiting Sippi's was rainy so the patio was closed. We enjoy eating on the patio and it will be interesting when they put a cover on it and add the garage doors. The outdoor patio effectively doubles the amount of dining space on the main floor of the restaurant.
Upstairs is overflow dining and a banquet party room - we've eaten up there a couple of times and it's nice up there. The elevation gives you glimpses of the Mississippi River about a quarter mile to the south. But most of the time we're on the main floor or out on the patio.
The main dining area features a bar with an eclectic mix of craft brews on tap. (A visit in January of this year alerted me to the fact that my favorite beer - Kona Big Wave Golden Ale - was now available in Iowa. Frank had it on tap at the bar.) While the bar/dining area is small, it's not cramped or uncomfortable. On most weekend nights, you'll find Frank and Jackie sitting at one of the tables holding court. Frank's a big jovial guy and he's always genuinely happy to see us walk in. Unfortunately, Frank wasn't there during this visit.
We were greeted by our server for that evening, Gidget (don't know if that was really her name or not), and given menus to look over. In addition to sandwiches and burgers, Sippi's also features your typical bar appetizers, a large list of soups and salads, steaks and ribs, and a number of wraps for the more health conscious diners.
As I said, there was a time where the food really suffered. Cindy had ordered one of her favorite items one evening about three years ago - the garlic/butter marinated ribeye steak - and it was inedible. She ended up sending it back because it tasted so bad and didn't get anything else because it was so horrible. (I tasted it - there was something definitely wrong with it.) The burger that I had that evening was overcooked, and the food our friends got wasn't up to par. It had sort of been going down hill previously to that particular visit and we stayed away for quite sometime.
I ran into Frank a couple years ago who wondered where we had been. I told him that, quite frankly, the food had been bad. He said, "Oh man! Why didn't you tell me?" (I know, I probably should have. But he wasn't there that particular night.) He assured me that things had turned around. "We've got it under control in the kitchen now," he said. "Come back to see us." We did and the past few visits have been pleasing.
We started off the evening getting an appetizer - deep fried pickles. For some reason, Cindy wanted fried pickles - she'd never had them before, but thought they sounded interesting. Now, I'm very partial to the fried pickles at J K O'Donnell's in Fort Wayne, IN. (Click here to see my post on J K O'Donnell's.) They're more like sliced dill pickles that are covered in a house-made batter that is very tasty. The deep fried pickles at Sippi's were all right - just all right. I think they probably got them from a food service already battered as they were pickle spears covered with some sort of breaded batter. We made a mental note to not order the fried pickles at Sippi's again.
However, one thing that I really like at Sippi's is the mushroom/Swiss cheese burger. I also like to get bacon on the top of it, as well. Only this evening, they forgot to put the bacon on the burger. (More on that in a moment.) The burger is chargrilled and piled high with mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese. They definitely didn't overcook this burger on this visit.
Another thing I like at Sippi's is their onion rings. I'm not exactly sure how they prepare the onion rings, but it tastes like after they deep fry the battered onion rings they put them over the grill to give them sort of a chargrilled taste. They're unlike any onion rings I've ever tasted and I certainly do like them.
Cindy went with the Mediterranean chicken wrap - chopped chicken breast, feta cheese, garlic hummus, with Italian dressing along with lettuce, tomatoes and chopped onions were in the tortilla shell wrap. Only there was something extra - the bacon that was supposed to be on my burger was chopped up and put into the Mediterranean chicken wrap. After I had pointed out to Gidget that they forgot the bacon on my burger, Cindy took a bite of her wrap and said, "I think I found your bacon right here!"
The cook had mixed up and thought the bacon was to go on the wrap. Cindy said that it was fine, she'd eat it as is. But Gidget insisted on taking the wrap back and having the cook make it right for my wife. Less than five minutes later - after she had brought out some bacon strips for my burger - she brought out the correctly made Mediterranean chicken wrap.
And as you can see from the picture above, they don't hold back on the wraps at Sippi's. This thing was chock full of ingredients making it a big fat meal. Cindy really liked the wrap, but combined with the fried pickles she had - and the sides of applesauce and cole slaw - she could only eat one half of the whole wrap. She had our server bring out a small box so she could take the other half of the wrap home for lunch the next day.
We're extremely happy that Sippi's has made a comeback. And with some of the upgrades that Frank is planning for the future it should make it even more of an inviting place. We've had a series of good meals again and we're hoping that it continues. Sippi's isn't fancy, but the food is good, they have a very good beer selection, and the patio is nice on a comfortable summer evening. It continues to be one of our favorite spots in the Quad Cities.