Mystery Diner in Seneca: No. 4 Social Garage offers place to eat, drink and be social

Reimagined bar and grill reopens in May

The Garage Fire burger serves a spicy blend of toppings at No. 4 Social Garage in Seneca. The burger patty is topped with three types of hot peppers, spicy mayo and ghost pepper cheese.

No. 4 Social Garage lived up to its name during a weekend stop in downtown Seneca.

My spouse and I had plans on La Salle County’s east side, so we reached out to a longtime friend in Seneca whom we hadn’t seen since pre-pandemic, and set a dinner destination at the village’s newest restaurant.

After all, good friends and good food are two things worth traveling for.

No. 4 Social Garage in downtown Seneca reopened in May after a temporary closure earlier this year. The bar and grill specializes in pizza, sandwiches and burgers, among other items.

No. 4 Social Garage hosted a grand opening in October 2021, but temporarily closed in January to adjust its meal offerings and business plan. The restaurant reopened in May with an updated menu featuring appetizers, sandwiches, burgers and pizza, as well as a buffet and salad bar, plus a full bar. Large signage on the building facade and “Now Open” feather flags make it easy for out-of-towners to locate the restaurant on Main Street.

The front entrance opens into the bar, which is decorated in a blend of 1950s-themed furnishings and auto decor. Those who plan to dine in can turn right toward the dining room and place orders at the counter, then take a seat in the dining room, barroom or outdoor dining area. Orders will be brought to the table.

One of the popular appetizer menu items is the Italian beef egg roll served with au jous.

Our trio arrived during peak dinner hour, and settled into a booth in the dining room, which was a bit quieter than the barroom and more suited for casual conversation. The first order delivered to our table was a pair of appetizers – the Italian beef egg rolls served with au jus ($9), which the server recommended upon inquiry, and the loaded fries with three types of cheese, bacon and green onion ($10). Both appetizers were easy to divide among the three of us.

The loaded fries appetizer at No. 4 Social Garage in Seneca is served with three types of cheese, green onion and bacon.

Our entrees consisted of the smoked beef brisket sandwich ($10), the Garage Fire burger ($12) and the mac-n-cheese with added bacon ($8). The menu did not list the prices, but we did receive an itemized receipt. The restaurant’s Facebook page reports that no meal costs more than $15.

The headliner of the barbecue sandwich menu at No. 4 Social Garage in Seneca is the smoked beef brisket sandwich.

The beef brisket has received favorable reviews online and was among menu items the server recommended. The Garage Fire burger – topped with jalapeño, cayenne and red peppers in addition to pickles, spicy mayo and ghost pepper cheese – packs heat that lingers after each bite. The mac-n-cheese is thick and rich – it pairs well with a savory item, such as the seasoned fries that my spouse shared from my plate.

The mac-n-cheese at No. 4 Social Garage in downtown Seneca consists a thick, rich blend of cheese. Bacon, tomato or hot peppers can be added for $1.

Speaking of the fries: Salt lovers like me will be hooked on them. The potato strips are heavily polka-dotted in salt and pepper.

The three of us stayed to chat long after the plates were cleared away. No. 4 Social Garage’s dining hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., but the bar stays open later, so we continued the conversation until close to 10 p.m. The business honors its name in being a social space – in fact, the restaurant offers a social lounge at the front of the building with retro-style couches and a floor console television, which owners eventually plan to use for loops of classic black-and-white TV programs. After a meal, guests can retire to the social lounge for drinks and continued companionship.

You can't miss the sign when looking for No. 4 Social Garage on Main Street in downtown Seneca.

Social spaces are important in a community, and No. 4 Social Garage offers diners another location to meet and connect with others.

• The Mystery Diner is an employee at Shaw Media. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a different restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a story.


WHAT: No. 4 Social Garage

WHERE: 301 N. Main St., Seneca

PHONE: 815-357-7444

INFORMATION: Facebook at