Live, from West Peoria, it’s Saturday Night starring this week’s host, West Town Tap with special musical guest stars, Captain Quirk and lots of other special guest stars. Now, please welcome this week’s host, West Town Tap!
Here we are at this week’s Saturday night dinner destination, the West Town Tap, which was formerly known as Champs West, and that's important knowledge for this post. I’m not explaining that now, you’ll have to keep on scrolling to find out why, but keep that tidbit of information in the back of your mind.
There’s a decent crowd in here, but I found a spot at the bar and got an ice-cold bottle of Budweiser from Pete who was doing bartending duty for the evening. Then the owner of West Town Tap, Chris Herold came over to say hi. Chris and his family used to own the popular pizza parlor on Sterling Avenue, Pizza Inn. I documented the last night that the Pizza Inn was open back in 2013 and you can read about that right here. This also is a factoid you need to keep in your mindset as you read this.
All this mysterious stuff will be answered as you keep on scrolling, so let’s keep moving along here!
Two friends of mine were seated next to me and they are Michelle and Brian. Michelle is also a big part of the evening’s festivities, but once again you have to keep scrolling on down to find out why! This is one big-ass mysterious MBIP post, isn’t it?
Here’s some other friendly faces I snapped with the trusty MBIP Camera, from top they are: Tammy and Alicia, Joanne and Banjo, Tavis and Lyn and Tami and Michelle. Tavis and Lyn were celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary, so congratulations to them! As I told them on Saturday, their marriage has lasted 5 years and three months longer than mine did, so good for them!
Here’s some shots of me wandering around West Town Tap. Spuds is still here, but he’s kind of hidden behind the large liquor inventory on the shelves behind the bar. There’s Peoria’s own Wrigleyville corner and I love that picture of Muhammad Ali crushing Sonny Liston.
As I looked over to the other side of the bar, I noticed some lively action going on over there...
It’s live music! Captain Quirk was performing this Saturday evening and they’re a great locally-based band. They play songs you’re familiar with and also throw in some tunes by artists you may not have heard of. This mix of songs they play can be a little quirky and that’s how they achieved the rank of Captain Quirk in Peoria’s musical army. You can read more about the band right here.
It’s Saturday night and that means it’s time for a Saturday night dinner and here’s Pete serving it up! I had a late lunch, so I wasn’t starving like you know who, so I chose two appetizers for my Saturday night meal. I got the sweet chili chicken wings and an order of the boneless pork bites. Both appetizers were delicious and you can read more about them in the review below, but the boneless pork bites kind of stole the show!
Happy Champsversary, Michelle!
Remember I told you that it was important to remember that this place used to be a tavern called, Champs West at the beginning of the post? Well, it’s important because that’s where I first met Michelle!
I had just moved back to Peoria in 2012 and at the end of that year I started the MBPIP blog and was exploring the city I grew up in but had been away from for 19 years. I had read a review of Champs West on Justin Glawe’s now retired PBR blog. I love dark bars and Justin included this line in his review: “It’s dark as fuck.”
Well, I had to go check this place out and did a jokey post playing on the darkness of the place that you can read here. While I was in there, Michelle was sitting at the end of the bar and she asked if I was the guy who was doing that "Peoria blog" and I told her I was. I was flattered that she knew me from the blog and we became friends after that.
That was on June 6, 2013, so since I had made plans to meet Michelle on this Saturday night, I decided to bring her a fifth Champsversary present. I didn’t have to think too long about what to get her, I had a Champs West matchbook from the night we met, so I wrote a note to Michelle inside and here she is with it! Happy Champsversary, Michelle! Thanks for the friendship and we’ll have to have a real party next year on our sixth Champsversary!
And while the Champsversary celebration was happening, Captain Quirk continued to play on and the crowd was loving it! If you want to check out Captain Quirk live, scroll down and check out their schedule here.
The Big Announcement!
Here’s Chris with his two nephews, Shawn and Chris and this leads us to the other mental note I told you to take about the Herold family owning the longtime popular pizza parlor, the Pizza Inn. When the Pizza Inn closed, Aurelio’s moved in, but at the beginning of this year, they closed up the shop and the space has been sitting there vacant.
Well, three secret sources have told me that the Herold family are starting a new venture in this space. Now I can’t reveal my sources for this scoop, but the fact that there are three Herold’s sitting here may or may not be a little bit of a clue here, but I’ll never tell.
What I will say is that I’m thrilled the Herold family is turning the space on Sterling back into a local, family-owned Peoria business and that should be happening sometime in June! Stay tuned for more information on this exciting news!
The West Town Tap is one of the few pubs in town that offers meals for every time of the day. They start serving made-from-scratch comfort breakfast meals at six in the morning. That shifts into lunch and then dinner is served late into the night.
I missed breakfast and lunch last Saturday, but I did make it in time for a late night treat! They have an extensive selection of full plate entrees, sandwiches and burgers for dinner, but I wasn’t super hungry, so I thought I’d sample a couple of appetizers, from the “Sharables” seciton of the menu. They have a half dozen varieties of pub wings and I chose the sweet chili sauce wings and they were very tasty. The wings had a nice combination of sweet and heat from the spicy sauce and they were plump and delicious. I enjoyed the wings, but as I mentioned earlier, the second appetizer selection stole the show.
This was an order of the Boneless Pork Bites. These little piggy bits are smoked for 14 hours and then fried up to crispy little taste sensations. They’re served with a spicy barbecue sauce that complimented them perfectly. They were crispy outside and tender and delicious on the inside.
Three and a half Galloping Gourmets—There’s something for everyone on the West Town Tap menu from breakfast to lunch to dinner to tasty little pub appetizers like I had. They're one of the few Peoria pubs serving up delicious food morning, noon and night, so I tip my hat to them and highly recommend you go and give them a try if you haven’t already!
And I’m really excited to see what Chris and his family do with the space on Sterling Avenue, I’ll be reporting updates on that, so stay tuned!
515 N. Western Ave.