Broken Spoke – A Different Kind of Biker Bar

Today we were headed to a painting project at a paint your own pottery place and needed to eat lunch first. Rather than try all the places on Collins Rd and hope for the best on Labor Day, I decided to just go across the street. My goal was The Broken Spoke but Riley’s was there next door as a back up just in case no one was interested in Spoke. Incidentally, Broken Spoke is opened by the same people that own Riley’s.

There is no doubt that Broken Spoke is a bar. A bicycle themed bar. Biking is popular on this side of town. There were a couple tables occupied by groups of riders. The left side of the restaurant is almost exclusively high tops. We found a lone low top on the right side of the restaurant, next to the pool table.

I was happy to see that the menu is not remotely like Riley’s. There were lots of intriguing items. We went with an order of pretzel sticks for an appetizer. I also wanted to order the jalapeno poppers. I love poppers. My all time favorite ones are red jalapenos with cream cheese served with pepper jelly. An ultra rare find. The menu described these poppers as being filled with red chili cream cheese. Oooooh! Something different!

The pretzel sticks were exactly the same as the ones served at Max & Erma’s in Ohio but served with a really good Monterrey Jack cheese sauce. The poppers were indeed different. Red peppers. Yay! There were pepper flakes in the crust. I found the chili cream cheese to be slightly sweet. The poppers had a good after heat but were not super hot like one might have expected. The side of ranch dressing added nothing.

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Lots of interesting things on the menu. My heart was drawn to the Chicago hot dog. God I love Chicago hot dogs. I miss my Gold Coast Dogs. And Broken Spoke’s was a foot long! Instead I went with the Speedway, a burger topped with a hot dog, sauerkraut, brown beer mustard and a cheese plank. I had them hold the sauerkraut. And of course my side was crinkle cut fries.

The basket looked really good. The fries were the less common skinny crinkle cuts. The burger was a good burger. It wasn’t great burger, it wasn’t memorable, I won’t be craving one, but it was good. Unfortunately the hot dog and cheese plank get lost. I couldn’t taste individual flavors. All together just made for a big bite. I’m glad I tried it but I will get something else next time. And there will be a next time. I really liked this place.

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Granite City Food & Brewery

The kiddo and I had time to kill while the wife had business to attend to. We explored in the car and when the decision came to eat we pulled into the parking lot of Granite City Food & Brewery. If I didn’t know any better I would have thought I was in BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in Ohio. The interiors looked identical. The menus did not though.

The hostess who sat us was very friendly. She brought out a bowl of fruit for the kiddo right away which was a very nice touch.

I’m a sucker for fresh baked pretzels, even if they are just a frozen food service item. So I couldn’t help myself ordering the pretzel sticks as an appetizer. Even the kiddo had one. I seem to remember not being too impressed with the Northern Cheese Sauce. Give me a spicy brown mustard or bold nacho cheese with my pretzels. They would have been even better with a beer but I’m very strict about not drinking and driving so I settled for a Diet Pepsi.

The daughter ordered Kraft Mac n’ Cheese. I tried to talk her out of it because the last 10+ times she’s ordered it anywhere she takes two bites and pushes it away saying it isn’t cheesy enough. And she’s right. And I’m tired of wasting food. But she decreed this batch to be good and ate almost the whole thing. She said the difference was the word “creamy” in the menu description. Right.

I ordered the lunch combo of Pepperoni Flatbread and Caesar Salad. I love love anchovies on my Caesar salad, unfortunately they did not have any. The salad was pretty mediocre I think because of poor use of cheese, barely any. The flatbread pizza was good. Cut into four small squares, maybe 3″ by 3″ which made for a lunch on the lighter side. The pepperoni was good as was the cheese. That might be the first flat bread pizza I’ve had

My daughter is a dessert fanatic. She burns thousands of calories per day thanks to gymnastics and soccer so it’s not too bad of a bad habit. Yet. If a restaurant has a brownie sundae, she’s ordering it. And so she did here. I don’t have the sweet tooth and rarely order dessert. She let me have a bite and I found the brownie to be dry and on the cake side. I prefer a moister, fudgier brownie. She finished the whole thing though so it must have been good.

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Brownie Sundae sans whipped cream per request