Northwest Herald

Mystery Diner in Woodstock: Sandwiches at Corned Beef Factory are a sure bet

Corned Beef Factory in Woodstock offers the opportunity for a classic deli-style sandwich.

About a third of the restaurants Mystery Diner visits have a video gaming gallery.

Some of the video operations are barely noticeable with small signs pointing patrons seeking a chance to wager a few bucks or more to a secluded area. Other locations help point you to the video machines with signs on the restaurant window or something on the marquee along the roadway outside. Then there is The Corned Beef Factory, 460 S. Eastwood Drive, Woodstock, located a few doors down from the Illinois Secretary of State DMV location, where people wait outside for their turn to take a driving test or renew their license or vehicle tags. Let’s say, it’s a captive audience.

The Corned Beef Factory wants to capture gamers’ attention. Right in front of the restaurant are several large red flags proclaiming the establishment has “SLOTS!” The restaurant appears to pride itself on its video gaming opportunities, offering free baseball caps, koozies and metal cups from a gaming company sponsor. And just last week, we received a flyer in the mail from Corned Beef Factory featuring prizes and slots options it offers, along with $10 free play coupons.

More than $2.5 billion was wagered in slot machines in Illinois bars, restaurants, truck stops and convenience stores in June this year, according to the Illinois Gaming Board. That produced $62.8 million in tax revenue for the state that month. Local municipalities shared another $10.8 million in tax revenue last month. Video gaming terminals produced net income of $216.7 million in June. So, there’s a lucrative reason restaurants, bars, truck stops and convenience stores seek to add them to their bottom line.

The Corned Beef Factory’s gaming operation is open until 1 a.m. daily, and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. But it serves food only until about 6 p.m.

Gaming isn’t what attracted us to The Corned Beef Factory, it was the opportunity to eat a deli-style sandwich.

The menu includes “classics” such as Corned Beef, Reuben, Pastrami and the Tom & Jerry Combo, with corned beef and pastrami. And there are “signature favorites,” Turkey, Italian Beef, Turkey Reuben, Beef Hot Dog and Grilled Cheese.

The Tom & Jerry Combo at the Corned Beef Factory in Woodstock comes with corned beef, pastrami and Swiss cheese on rye bread.

We chose the Tom & Jerry Combo and Turkey Reuben, both accompanied by homemade potato chips and a pickle spear.

The Tom & Jerry Combo ($13) was warmed with Swiss cheese and a choice of regular or spicy mustard on rye bread. This was a good sandwich, with corned beef and pastrami piled high, lean, tender and flavorful. And the rye bread was some of the better slices we’ve had in McHenry County. The Tom & Jerry Combo is the real deal when it comes to deli offerings.

The Turkey Reuben at the Corned Beef Factory in Woodstock comes on a toasted rye bread with thousand island dressing, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese.

The Turkey Reuben ($12) was on the same level as the Tom & Jerry Combo. It was on toasted rye bread with Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. This was a hot sandwich, and the toasted rye crunched, holding up well with the moisture of the Thousand Island and sauerkraut. And it tasted really good.

Besides the restaurant’s focus on gaming inside and out, The Corned Beef Factory proves a solid culinary experience.

• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Northwest Herald. 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 Corned Beef Factory

WHERE: 460 S. Eastwood Drive, Woodstock

PHONE: 815-527-7437

INFORMATION: www.cornedbeeffactory.com