Mystery Diner in Geneva: Old Towne Pub & Eatery hits tasty milestone

Rare in the TriCities are rooftop decks for dining, so we made a beeline for the second-floor patio at Old Towne Pub & Eatery to try an early dinner to kick off the weekend. The pub this year celebrates its 20th anniversary in downtown Geneva.

The outdoor deck is at the back of the corner building, which provides a noise buffer from the traffic along Route 38. There’s a mellow rooftop view, and colorful umbrellas provide plenty of shade. The deck can be accessed from indoors or from North Second Street, which it fronts.

Service is warm and attentive, and the menu is focused on comfort food favorites. The dishes are well-executed by the pub’s kitchen, with appealing presentation and attention to detail. The separate menus for food and drinks can be accessed by QR code or requested from the server.

My dining companion ordered the slow-cooked pot roast dinner, which also is offered as a sandwich with caramelized onions and creamy horseradish on a ciabatta roll. When he saw the mention of garlic mashed potatoes, he was all in for the dinner version.

His meal was served with a generous portion of beef in a delicious gravy (ask for extra), with superlative mashed potatoes and tasty al dente carrots providing a counterpoint. A sprinkling of finely chopped parsley garnished the dish.

A steak knife arrived on the dinner plate, but wasn’t needed for the tender, melt-in-your-mouth pot roast, a new addition to our favorites list.

I chose the Santa Fe salad, and added grilled chicken for a modest upcharge. The long strips of chicken, with its grill marks, was a nice addition to a salad of red and green lettuces topped with crunchy tortilla strips and crumbled queso. It incorporated crisp, matchstick-cut jicama, roasted corn kernels and black beans tossed with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette and accented with a drizzle of smoky Santa Fe dressing with a nicely reined-in hint of heat. A peeled avocado half was artfully sliced to keep the superfood intact and a dominant visual element.

My salad arrived with two horn-shaped pieces of fresh-baked pretzel, outstanding in flavor and texture.

We ended up sharing both entrees, and will have a tough time ordering something different next time around. Although sounding good is the daily fish fry featuring battered haddock, which alternatively can be ordered grilled.

The menu ranges from flatbreads and wings to burgers, wraps, salads and sandwiches. The expansive sports bar is home to private event spaces.

We’re fans of the pub’s classic corned beef dinners for St. Patrick’s Day. But long before then, we’re planning a return trip to the hidden gem of a patio overlooking a corner of downtown.

• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Kane County Chronicle. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Old Towne Pub & Eatery

WHERE: 201 W. State St., Geneva

PHONE: 630-232-7962

INFORMATION: otpgeneva.com