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Pierce Tavern: Filled with delicious food and rich history

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Pierce Tavern: Filled with delicious food and rich history

A dry and clear day outside the Tavern.

A dry and clear day outside the Tavern.

Ciarra O'Rielly

A dry and clear day outside the Tavern.

Ciarra O'Rielly

Ciarra O'Rielly

A dry and clear day outside the Tavern.

I wouldn’t say this is anyone’s average “new” restaurant, but a building that has been with Downers Grove for years. Named after the founder of Downers Grove, Pierce Tavern was a bank when it first opened in 1872.  Located at 5135 Main St., in downtown Downers Grove, Pierce Tavern is a great, new, family-friendly addition to the downtown area.

The first thing I noticed was rustic, industrial feel it gave on the outside as well as the inside. When I opened the door, I automatically got a whiff of a variety of aromas such as smoked meats and wood-fired pizza. I noticed that the restaurant was split into two areas by a large bar.  On the far side was a dining area with standard tables and chairs. On the near side was the bar, with tall bar tables and soft cushioned stools. In addition, the wall opposite of the bar had one long booth-like bench with bar tables and chairs to allow a large group to sit together.

Since my family and I did not make reservations, the host said it would be about a 30-minute wait to be seated. The hosts were kind enough to walk us over to the pizza bar located at the rear of the restaurant overlooking the kitchen where we were able to watch the pizza being made. At the pizza bar, we were able to sit together and have some drinks while we waited.  I ordered a draft root beer (root beer that is straight out of the keg). It was sweet and refreshing.

Surprisingly, we were seated within 15 minutes by our waitress. She politely and patiently explained the menu to us and described how they smoke all their own meats and hand packed their burgers. She gave us time to look over the menu and asked if we had any questions. As we were looking over the menu, I noticed the music was blaring. It was hard to have a calm and respectful conversation with my parents without having to yell at them across the table, I really had to focus on what my parents were saying back to me as well.

After giving us some time the waitress took our order. We ordered an appetizer of calamari.  It was thinly cut and lightly breaded. It was also fried to a crisp, had a tasty crunch and was drizzled with basil and a sweet chili sauce.  On the side was a spicy mayo dipping sauce. This was $11.

I ordered the Mustang Burger. It was topped with yellow cheddar, bacon, crispy onion strings, BBQ and served on a soft pretzel bun. The juicy, medium cooked burger was sweet from the BBQ sauce but also crunchy from the bacon and onion strips. The pretzel bun was nicely baked and gooey on the inside. For my side, I ordered their hand cut french fries.  They were super crispy on the outside but soft on the inside with just the right amount of salt on top of them. The burger cost $13.

My mom ordered the spicy chicken double decker tacos. She received three tacos filled with spicy shredded chicken, chihuahua cheeses, lettuce, and pico de gallo. These were all topped with chipotle ranch dressing.  The tacos came on a flour and a corn tortilla and a side of coleslaw. The price was $13.

My dad ordered a new menu item, southern states favorite of shrimp and grits. He received seven jumbo wood-fired shrimp atop creamy, buttery, cheddar, corn grits topped with swiss chard and andouille sausage. This was $18.

We were given take-home boxes for our leftovers and once we were finished with our plates they were immediately taken away. We decided to order dessert and shared the cookie skillet, a chocolate chip cookie topped with a mountain of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce drizzle.

The cookie was warm and crisp; you could tell it just came out of the oven. The cookie tasted even better with the ice cream mixed with it giving that warm and cold feeling in your mouth. It was also very gooey inside. The cookie was $6, a little pricey but I could tell a lot of effort went into it.

Our check totaled $94.83, not terrible considering everything we ordered. The check was given in a bank deposit envelope to keep with the tradition of the original building. Overall, I would give this place an nine out of ten.

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Pierce Tavern: Filled with delicious food and rich history