We enjoyed dinner at Ponté Vecchio many times and felt a loss when they closed their location in Peoria's Sheridan Village.
A few months ago I was glad to hear that a chef from Ponté Vecchio was planning to open a restaurant, along with his wife, in the former Chiliworks site on Allen Road in Peoria and feature some of the same recipes.
This week I met my mom at the new PV II Restaurant for lunch.
We arrived at noon and were greeted right away and taken to a table in the busy dining room.
The room was pretty full, and the noises from those visiting and dining were bouncing off the high ceilings, much different than the quiet atmosphere of Ponté Vecchio, yet nice in its own way.
The decor seemed similar to what it was like when Chiliworks occupied the space, but it works for this restaurant also.
The lunch menu included pasta, salads, soups and sandwiches. The salads were also available in half portions, which was nice on the pocketbook and the belly.
I also noticed a table tent advertising Thursdays as half price bottle night, so there are wine bargains to be had as well.
Our waiter brought waters and took our drink order right off the bat.
I decided to try the half portion of chicken pear salad with parmesan dressing and a cup of a spinach egg soup made with parmesan dumplings. This soup and salad combo was priced at $9, or the half salad alone was $4.
The waiter brought us a basket of bread and then stopped by and told us that the food for a party of 20 was just coming up in the kitchen, and that ours would be out right after. He was quite apologetic.
The bread was perfectly warmed, dense and moist inside with a nice crisp crust.
Lunch did take a bit longer than would have been comfortable to arrive, but with all of the communication throughout by our waiter, we were relaxed and aware of what was going on.
The dressing on my salad was subtle but good, the pear crisp and the chicken breast nicely seasoned.
I especially enjoyed the parmesan dumplings in the broth-based soup. Heck, if they offered a plate of those dumplings as an appetizer, I would be all over them.
I heard a couple nearby compliment the waiter on everything, and I would have to agree. Service was great, the food was great and the prices were reasonable.
This is the time of year when I often find myself in a rut.
I am indecisive about what to do for lunch, and most times will just eat something quick, and lame, at my desk.
Today I told myself I was going to venture out and try the Goodness Café on NE Monroe in Peoria.
I found a parking spot right out front of the restaurant, which is attached to Peoria Bread Company.
Once inside I stepped up to the counter and perused the selections posted on the chalk boards. I noticed a menu posted on the counter top which described the sandwiches in more detail.
I selected the Fresh Veggie, which is listed as homemade hummus on whole wheat bread (organic) with lettuce, tomato, onions, sprouts, olives, cucumber and sunflower seeds.
The friendly young lady taking my order told me that there was a wait on hummus, and offered me a cream cheese spread or cheese instead. I opted for the cream cheese, and booked my meal as a combo, adding a cup of a homemade reuben soup.
I ordered a bottle of iced tea, which you pick up from a cooler in the dining room and the total came to $9.35.
I paid and found a seat in the dining room.
While waiting, I admired the soft green painted plank ceiling and fun three-dimensional art in the dining room.
The tables and chairs were a mishmash of style, giving a nice eclectic look to the room, and there were several brightly-colored paintings throughout the room.
Before long a lady delivered my order to my table.
I sampled the soup first and found it brimming with sauerkraut and carrots, flavorful in a rich broth.
My sandwich was piled high with veggie goodness and the sunflower seeds added nice texture to each bite.
Before leaving I figured I should sample the cookies and made a stop back at the cookie counter before heading out.
The menu also features several hot sandwiches, a few cold sandwiches and homemade soups each day. A bowl of soup comes with one free refill.
The Goodness Café was a nice bright spot in the midst of my dreary winter.
February 22, 2010 — The Goodness Café is now offering breakfast. October, 2010 — The Goodness Café has closed.