Apr 18, 2013

A Commoner Reviews the Peotone Bier Stube

UPDATE:  I've recently learned the Peotone Bier Stube has closed, according to various reports on Facebook and other social media sites.  While I (among many other followers) hope this restaurant reopens, for now please consider this blog entry only as an homage to a great German restaurant.  If I learn of its reopening, I will post another update to my blog.

If you've never heard of Peotone, Ill., it’s a small community that, despite being in affluent Will County south of Chicago, has remained largely untouched by the urban sprawl that continues to encroach upon it.  In fact, it’s probably one of the first signs of rural Illinois farm town life you’ll find driving southbound on Interstate 57. 

If you have heard of Peotone, it may be because it’s the proposed site for a third airport to serve the Chicago area (the airport in Gary, Ind., would actually be closer but who realistically wants to fly into Gary?).  So, if certain politicos have their way, the landscape of Peotone could change drastically in the next decade. 

What I hope doesn't change about Peotone is a little gem of a German restaurant and beer garden called the Peotone Bier Stube, located on Illinois Highway 50 as it runs through town (Side note:  If you follow Hwy. 50 north, you eventually find yourself on Cicero Avenue in Chicago).  Peotone is probably not on most people’s short list for delicious, authentic German food, but then again, those people aren't seeking out the uncommon in a commoner’s travels.   

If you’re looking to find this place coming off the interstate, you’ll need some patience.  It’s a couple of miles off the exit, then a left at Hwy. 50 until you’re almost out of town.  Look for it on the west side of the road.  On the Friday evening I was returning from Chicago, I’d had the good fortune of recalling seeing this place on an earlier trip, so when I saw the road sign, I knew I had to try it out for dinner.  Plus, 90 minutes of rush hour traffic had put me in the mood for a mug of German beer.

The building itself is a little unassuming, but there’s little doubt of the German influence.  As you walk in, you’ll notice a main dining room off to the right with plenty of taxidermy and artwork hanging to give it a hunting lodge vibe, and a bar and seating area off to the left decked out in enough German-themed memorabilia to make you think you were in Munich.  I arrived early enough to have my run of the house, so naturally I chose to sit at the bar – and a well-stocked and appropriately cluttered one at that.

I wasted no time getting my German beer.  I noticed they had Warsteiner Pilsener on tap and knew it would go with anything, or nothing if need be.  It was the perfect drink for taking in the full menu. 

Seeing that giant schnitzels were their specialty, I figured I couldn't go wrong with one.  I mean, who doesn't have a fondness for a plate-sized schnitzel?  But the choices were so varied, I couldn't decide.  Fortunately, the extremely likable and pretty bartender (I really should be better at getting names, for journalistic purposes if for no other reason) recommended the Kaiser Schnitzel which was on special – a schnitzel covered with a cream sauces and chunks of chicken breast.  Now, that’s a schnitzel fit for the Kaiser! 

It was nothing short of delicious.  The schnitzel was not overly breaded.  The pork inside was nice and tender.  The brown gravy and cream sauce worked together to complement the dish very well.  The sides of German potato salad and red cabbage were spot-on, too.

The entrée also came with a choice of soup or salad.  Since I was still recovering from the cold drizzle that had engulfed Chicago the entire day, I went with the soup.  Once again going with the bartender’s recommendation, she chose the house special – liver dumpling soup.  I expected something creamy with dumplings like my grandmother made and bits of liver in the broth.  Much to my surprise, I got this …

Yes, that’s a giant ball of pork liver floating in beef broth.  And guess what?  It was amazing.  Aside from the schnitzel, it was the highlight of the meal. That, and the beer and friendly people at the Peotone Bier Stube, of course. And before I forget, the prices were very reasonable, too.  The dinner special was around $20.  The beer was around $5-6. 

After finally having the opportunity to eat at the Peotone Bier Stube, I’m definitely going to keep this on my short list of places to stop for food and drink on any road trip to Chicago.  I give it a very strong recommendation. 

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Totally going to make the trip. Thanks!

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