Monday, October 15, 2007

Grecian Gardens

Having spent about 2/3 of my life living in Chillicothe, two blocks from Grecian Gardens restaurant no less, I didn't really have a high opinion of the place. And not due to anything I had heard or experienced, I guess it was just because it was always there and Peoria was so much cooler.
Occasionally meeting people from Chicago and the suburbs, if I said I was from Chillicothe, they would say, "Oh, have you been to Grecian Gardens?" Walking away, I would chuckle to myself, Grecian Gardens??
My mom heard Grecian Gardens, 304 Plaza Park Drive, served a good prime rib, so she felt she must pass this information on to StfRon and I. Friday night we ventured in to check it out.
Walking in to the place was surreal. I had been in the dinette-type room a couple of times over the years, for lunch when I worked in Chillicothe during high school, and once for a disastrous blind date. It looked vaguely familiar and comforting.
The door marked "Lounge" and the dining room, however, were a complete surprise to me. It was like I had always come in and entered the dinette section to the left and never knew the rooms to the right existed.
The hallway between the two dining rooms was lined with long, retro sofas.
The decor in the lounge was delightfully old, either late 1960s or early 1970s with an awesome red velvet wallpaper and lots of dark wood. The carpet was decidedly 1960-ish, too. I felt like I somehow remembered this carpet, too, from when I was a wee lass.
We went into the lounge to wait for our table, but ended up just eating there amongst the video games and jukebox. Some guy kept playing the same two songs, one of them by CCR and the other from the Blues Brothers, I think, over and over. Finally StfRon snuck some money in the jukebox to spare us another repetition.
We all ordered the prime rib, me with mashed potatoes and white gravy, StfRon went for brown gravy, and we all had the salad bar. The salad bar was not too exciting, but sufficient.
Our prime rib was well-prepared, the au jus not too salty, and the meat was very tender. The smaller portion runs about $14.99, and they also offer a king prime rib.
I had started with a non-descript Cabernet, but worked up the nerve to try a Greek red wine, which was much better.
There are also some Greek entrees on the menu, and baklava, which I wanted to try, but forgot to order.
Our bartender/server was pleasant. Although, the bar became rather busy while we were there due to a wedding party arriving, and a manager-type lady started helping out behind the bar. She had a bad attitude or was having a bad day or something, but eventually she mellowed a bit.
If you're looking for decent food and a blast from the past, give Grecian Gardens a try.


Diane Vespa said...

A dear friend just gave us a gift certificate to this restaurant and told us to order the prime rib. Now, I'm really excited. Thanks for this post.

Jeep2000 said...

It was a fun time. Hope you enjoy it!

Floyd said...

They set their cheese on fire!

Jeep2000 said...

You're kidding, I KNEW I should have checked the menu! We went to a Greek restaurant near Detroit and ordered flaming cheese. They brought it out with a cry of "Opa"! It was a blast, and it crossed my mind that maybe Grecian Gardens had it, too.

Henny Penny said...

I love flaming cheese! We have it at the truck stop by our house.

Grandma's Attic said...

Wow, I just could NOT go to a restaurant that serves Saganaki and not order some! I LOVE FLAMING CHEESE!

Anonymous said...

The rude lady behind the bar is the owners wife. Yes, she does have a serious attitude, but I think she means well. I won't say her name, but I worked at Grecians while going to high school and Jimmy (the owner) is one of the nicest people you will ever meet!! I highly recomend their prime and their chicken fried steak (i believe it's on special Thursdays)