A rebranding is behind The Sidecar Supper Club & Beer Garden, formerly known as The River’s Edge Bar & Grill in Batavia, a fresh incarnation of the pub by the original owner. Not knowing what to expect, we were wowed by the culinary and visual treats along North River Street, the pedestrian-friendly road just east of the Fox River.
The Sidecar patrons were spread out indoors and at outdoor seating that included the city’s picnic tables with umbrellas placed along North River Street. A festive vibe ruled the road, where The Sidecar’s owner on roller skates flew among tables as she balanced beers on a tray. Her spiraling acrobatics added extra verve to the thoughtfully curated craft beers the spot is known for.
Running along the northern side of the stone building dating to the 1880s are stepped tiers of outdoor seating leading up to the beer garden, which boasts its own bar and a stage for live music on Fridays and Saturdays. Other musical events include Bluegrass Sundays, with some events indoors.
Dog-friendly, the raised tiers adorned with flower boxes, ivy and strings of lights provide views of the valley topography and sunsets.
And then there’s the locally sourced food. In addition to the superlative burgers for which the eatery long has been known, with such treats as house-smoked bacon, there’s an array of unusual appetizers on the menu and what they dub “adventure family-style meals.” The selection changes from week to week, our server said.
This has to be one of the best deals around, with fixed prices for meals based on the number of entrees. We chose the two-entree “adventure,” which included our choice from a set list of appetizers, soup/salad, an extra side and dessert. There is an a la carte option for the entrees.
We started with the Coq Au Vin Lollies appetizer, and were floored by the portion – five large, French-cut chicken drumsticks braised in a wine sauce with mushrooms. A standout.
The soup of the day was Thai coconut and curry with veggies. The flavors were complex and satisfying, with a scoop of seasoned rice to balance the heat. Believe your servers when they tell you something is spicy hot. They are knowledgeable about both food and craft beer profiles.
My dining companion picked an entree of Cap’N Crab Cakes, made with generous jumbo lump crab on a bed of arugula, accompanied by fingerling potatoes. And if the name didn’t give it away, you’d never guess the delectable crab cakes are lightly crusted with the kids’ cereal.
I chose the Bloody Mary Pot Roast, which came with wonderful garlic and mascarpone mashed potatoes, and was garnished with house-pickled celery.
For our extra side, we chose the Fried Chipotle Brussels Sprouts, their delicate, pickled layers crisp and flavorful.
A light coconut mousse capped the meal, and our abundant leftovers provided another big treat the next day.
The service was terrific, and we can’t wait to go back for the next “adventure.”
• 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: The Sidecar Supper Club & Beer Garden
WHERE: 12 N. River St., Batavia