Live, from Peoria, Illinois, it’s Saturday Night Cheeseburger starring this week’s host, Castle’s Patio Inn and featuring The Ready For Prime Beef Player, Marty Wombacher. And, please welcome this week’s cheesy host, Castle’s Patio Inn!
Okay, I think we got about a half of foot snow between Friday and Saturday and the streets are still pretty bad. But no way am I cancelling Saturday Night Cheeseburger over some snow and the fact that I could slide into a ditch at any second, especially since I’m taking pictures while driving in this shit!
Drive-by shot of Castle’s Patio Inn! Time to park and get this party started!
I had to park a couple blocks away and it really sucks trudging around in all of this snow. Have I mentioned how much I fucking HATE winter?
And here we are, Castle’s Patio Inn, one of Peoria’s oldest neighborhood taverns. I’ve been coming here since the mid ‘70’s when I would come here armed with my trusty fake I.D.
Let’s get in and forget about this frozen fucking mess out here.
If you look closely, you’ll see an unintentional obligatory mirror shot in the door. I love it when that happens!
Okay, I feel better already and I see a familiar face behind the bar...
It’s Alex, who’s well-known in here and he’s quick with a bottle of Budweiser. Alex is a seasoned and great bartender!
And here’s super-cute, Ali serving up tonight’s appetizer, a crock of Castle’s famous homemade cheese. One of my favorite things in the world.
The cheese has been served here in a crock with a stack of Ritz for as long as I can remember. Which I guess isn’t a big deal, since I have trouble remembering last night.
Perfection on a cracker!
Well, that didn’t take long! You should always have extra crackers left over, that means that you put healthy dollops of cheese on each cracker. If you have extra cheese and no crackers at the end, then you’re doing it all wrong.
Time for the main course, which is their signature Castle Crown sandwich and I’ve gotten the okay to come back and watch Castle’s chef, Kevin prepare it.
First the French bread is slid into the oven for a quick toasting...
Once it’s toasted it’s dipped into a vat of aujus and then slathered with the homemade cheese. I could eat it just like this!
And now we’re close to having a fully assembled sandwich as prime rib, grilled onions and pickles are added to the mix.
Houston, we have a main course!
And here’s a shot of the sandwich uncovered back at the bar. How great does that look?
It tastes even better! You can read more about it in the review below. Okay, now it’s time to work off the sandwich and take a look around in here.
Just as I was finishing the sandwich, my friend Joelle came in with her boyfriend Mike. Great to see both of them, Joelle was on one of the very first blogs on MBIP.
Here’s the trio of taps up at the bar, as you can see it’s a Cardinal’s bar in here.
The daily specials are listed on a sign behind the bar.
Here’s the dining area behind the bar, there’s a lot more seating area in here than what it looks like from the outside.
I love the Old Style stained glass lamps that hang over the tables in here.
Here’s a shot of the bar from the back of the room. That couple on the end just came in, let’s go say hi.
Meet Kathleen and Brian. It turns out that Brian is a good friend of my cousin David, who I saw for the first time in about twenty years at Thanksgiving. As much as it pains me to do this, looks like we’re going to have to cue up, “It’s A Small World After All.” And is it just me, or could Kathleen be Reese Witherspoon’s twin?
I just found out that they make fresh pizza here (looks like I’ll be back!) and Alex’s dad, Ken, made this for Kevin to put up in the bar.
Alex’s dad also carved and painted this picture of Grumpy that hangs on the wall over the entrance to the kitchen.
It was getting close to closing time as two of Kevin’s friends came in, from left, Craig, Kevin and Courtney. Kevin said they had all grown up together.
Kevin brought out this old picture of the bar back when it was, “Ray’s Patio Inn,” from 1972. That's the original owner, Ray, standing behind the bar.
I tired taking a shot from the same exact angle in the bar...I need to do one thing to make it perfect...
There, all of a sudden it feels like 1972 again! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
One thing I’m enjoying about going back to the bar or restaurant I went to last year is trying out their “signature” dish. At Castle’s Patio Inn, they actually have two signature dishes: The “Famous” Prime Rib which is a prime rib sandwich served on French bread and aujus and then there’s the Castle Crown, which is also a prime rib sandwich on French bread, but this one is dipped in aujus, then a generous slathering of their homemade cheese is added, then the prime rib and then pickles and grilled onion. I went with the Castle Crown and I believe I chose the right signature dish.
The sandwich is one of the most tasty and unique things I’ve eaten in Peoria. The French bread is fresh and toasted and stands up to a liberal bath in the aujus. The combination of flavors between the cheese, onions and savory prime rib is incredible. The pickles don’t really add much to the taste mixture, but they add a nice crunchiness to this party on your palate.
In addition to these two signature dishes, they offer up over a dozen other sandwiches including a reuben, bar-b-q made with the prime rib, a butterfly pork chop and Italian sausage served with grillled onions and pepperjack cheese. Castle’s is also known for their Catfish Dinner that they serve on Friday and Saturday evenings. And of course everyone knows about their famous homemade cheese and you can get a crock to go to satisfy your cravings in between visits.
Three and a half Galloping Gourmets. This is seriously one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten. You must try it or be accused of abusing your tastebuds!
Castle’s Patio Inn
802 W. Loucks
Bonus Cheese From Jaws The Cabbie!
Jaws the Cabbie sent in this cheesy piece of artwork. It ain't easy being green! Thanks, Jaws!