The Italian beef at Riverfront Bar & Grill in Peru was how I like it.
Stacks of well-seasoned beef and loads of mozzarella cheese in every bite filled a toasted, crispy bun. The sandwich also came with pepperoncini on top and au jus for dipping.
This was the perfect entree ($8.50) to take in a Sunday night football game.
Local options are limited on a Sunday evening, and Riverfront’s kitchen is open until 8 p.m. Sundays, meaning diners can get a full stomach by the second quarter.
The bar and grill has plenty of seating both indoors and on an outdoor patio – both with bars. There are several television sets at the bars and in the dining areas, and the audio of the game was featured on speakers throughout the building, making it a great place to watch.
A trio of people played darts and another group hung out on the outside patio while I was there, but it’s pretty easy to stake out your own space and get comfortable.
The bar and grill has a full menu of appetizers: loaded nachos, cheese curds (regular or garlic), onion rings, pretzel sticks, fried pickles, mushrooms, cheese sticks, fried cauliflower, loaded fries and breaded mushrooms. I opted for the cheese curds ($7) and was pleased at the plentiful serving, acknowledging it could be shared pretty easily within a group of three.
Wings and football go hand-in-hand, so I tried out an order of six ($7), breaded with hot sauce. Wings at Riverfront are served breaded or naked, and are flavored plain, barbecue, Buffalo, garlic Parmesan, sweet and sour, spicy sweet and sour, or hot. Additionally, the restaurant offers chicken strips and will flavor them how diners like them.
The menu also features all kinds of burgers, sandwiches (including breaded pork tenderloins), wraps, soups, salads, grilled pork chops, pasta and fried chicken/fish.
While I chose to sit indoors, the outside patio offers a close view of the Illinois River. Patrons can eat a dinner or have drinks and watch barges float down the waterway.
I’ve always loved the businesses and old buildings on Water Street in Peru, and that feeling of being below the Route 251 bridge reminds me of the riverside neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
Riverfront’s bar stays open until 2 a.m., but the restaurant closes at 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. They also offer carryouts, which were popular while I was dining.
If you find yourself in the predicament I often do – it’s getting later and later, beyond the normal dinner time, and your favorite restaurants are beginning to shut down their kitchens – think Riverfront. It is a great option for a late meal, and to take in a sports game. The food was good and the atmosphere was comfortable.
• 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.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Riverfront Bar & Grill
WHERE: 1525 Water St., Peru