Mystery Diner in La Salle: Koncz’s Bar provides great food, great value

Small neighborhood tavern features tasty chicken, quality daily specials

It’s pretty easy to get a really good meal in La Salle these days, but chances are just as good one would have to pay a pretty penny for it.

But if finding good food and good value in a friendly, unpretentious local atmosphere is important to you in these days of rapidly rising prices, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Koncz’s bar and grill.

From the outside, the first impression of this establishment at 1101 First St. in La Salle makes one think it is just what it is for most of the week: a small, welcoming neighborhood bar catering to mostly local residents.

Inside, the long bar dominates the room, accommodating just four or five tables for in-house dining, though food also is served to patrons at the bar.

On our visit, my dining companion ordered a quarter, light fried chicken, a baked potato and a dish of coleslaw, all nicely sized ($8.95). The chicken was lightly crisp on the outside, with tender juicy meat inside, while the potato was baked to perfection and loaded with all the usual condiments. The coleslaw was crisp and flavorful.

I opted for the daily special: pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy, a serving of corn and a small salad ($10.95). Given the choice between grilled or deep-fried chops, I chose the latter and received two, 1-inch-thick, bone-in chops with a flavorful coating, nicely browned and very juicy.

The mashed potatoes were creamy, and there was ample gravy to dip my bites of pork into, though they were moist enough it was hardly necessary. My meal was so delicious and filling, I ended up taking one of the chops home to enjoy later.

All of that came to a total of $20.80, minus the drinks. That is value.

There are other specials that appear frequently, including grouper, catfish, shrimp, broiled cod and cod Oscar on Fridays, and barbecued ribs, prime rib, pot roast, steaks and chicken family style on Saturdays and Sundays. To see the daily specials, check its Facebook page.

Those are in addition to the daily menu one would expect, but with a few extra choices.

The appetizers include the standards such as onion rings, cream cheese poppers and pretzel bites, but also offer different choices like spicy corn nuggets and catfish nuggets.

The entree menu boasts fried chicken and an array of burgers, chicken breast and pork tenderloin sandwiches, plus a shrimp basket, and cod and catfish dinners. Carryouts are available.

Take that varied, low-priced, quality menu and throw in the welcoming and quick service by the bartender and wait staff, and Koncz’s comes highly recommended.

The kitchen at Koncz’s is open Fridays from 4 to 9 p.m., on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m., and on Sundays for fried chicken family style from 4 to 8 p.m.

The Mystery Diner is an employee of 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 review.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Koncz’s Bar

WHERE: 1101 First St., La Salle

PHONE: 815-223-9666