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Granite City

In a word: Succeeds in self promotion as well as quality food.

The specs: #0255
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Cap Times, WiSJ (1/14/07 and 3/10/07), Sabertoothed Anteater, Madison Fish Fry; Yelp; official web site; Granite City Food & Brewery on Urbanspoon

Latest Granite City news and reviews

Granite City

Beth ate the dinner salad and French onion soup.
Bridget ate the luncheon bacon cheeseburger with waffle fries.
Colleen ate the Overlake sandwich with tortilla soup.
Craig ate the Monterey chicken wrap with waffle fries.
JM ate the bedda chedda burger with waffle fries and a lemonade.
JoEllen ate the grilled Asian chicken salad with tortilla soup.
John S. ate the grilled Asian chicken salad with French onion soup and raspberry iced tea.
John Se. ate the grilled chicken sandwich with bleu cheese dressing and shredded lettuce.
Kami ate the pasta alfredo with chicken and a Sierra Mist.
Megan ate the grilled Asian chicken salad and tortilla soup.
Nichole ate the Greek chicken salad with ale cheddar soup and a raspberry lemonade.
Saverio ate the Cuban sandwich with chips.
Steve ate the Cuban sandwich with fries.
The bill was $114, or $8.77/person, plus tip.
Beth gave Granite City an A+; JoEllen, Colleen, and Kami gave Granite City an A; Bridget, JM, John S., John Se., Megan and Steve gave Granite City an A-; Craig, Nichole, and Saverio gave Granite City a B+ (see our grading rubric).

We invaded Granite City at noon on a Thursday, and had a speedy, serviceable business lunch. It turned out to be a place where everyone in our large group could find something decent to order. The decor and ambience was best suited for a slightly rowdy crowd, as opposed to a quiet meal.

The service, mostly handled by one server who deserves an award for handling such a big group at rush,  was extraordinarily fast and attentive throughout. On the other hand, one reviewer used "megalomaniacal" to describe Granite City, and that doesn't sound as weird after you've heard the infomercial spiel ("we're a rapidly growing, publicly traded..." etc.) before your drinks order. As one person at our table observed, there was an almost awkward enthusiasm about it.

Speaking of drinks, we unfortunately didn't try the beer. Several folks ordered iced tea, which was tasty and freshly brewed. Both tea and lemonade came in regular and raspberry varieties. The raspberry lemonade tasted exactly like a melted raspberry cooler from Culver's; the raspberry iced tea barely tasted like raspberries. There were lemons in every water glass, a nice touch.

Thursday's soup du jour was tortilla cheese. Three at our table tried it, and all commended its cheesiness, though it turned out to not be very spicy. One diner said she'd come back next Thursday for another cup.

More soup

Our table also sampled the French onion soup, which came in a mantle of melted cheese. It was very presentable, though again maybe a bit bland.

French Onion soup

The beer cheese - sorry, ale cheddar - soup was indeed beery, but possibly the least cheesy of the three (not a bad thing). It came topped with rye croutons. As the inimitable Bridget observed, "I love it when they accessorize!"

Ale cheddar soup

The big hit of the table was clearly the grilled Asian chicken salad:

Grilled Asian chicken salad

Though cilantro haters should avoid it, the salad pleased folks who look for a bigger variety of ingredients than the average restaurant salad. Megan commented that it was well chopped and mixed, and the peanut sauce on the side was a nice touch but not necessary in addition to the dressing. John S. and JoEllen agreed that it was a fine salad, John going so far as to say he'd come back just to order it again.

The burgers were decent. The meat itself left a bit to be desired, having an overprocessed quality. The bacon cheeseburgers that two of our party ordered were hot and just the right size, though could have stood more veggie garnish. The accompanying pickle was cool and perfectly green, the waffle fries hot and well seasoned ("best of breed," according to JM).

Burger

The Greek chicken salad, like the Asian, had tons of ingredients (peppers, feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives), but a little too much vinegar in the liberally applied dressing.

Greek salad

The Overlake ham sandwich was great: the aioli was an excellent touch. The chips were crunchy (perhaps overly so) and a bit spicy.

Sandwich

Further down the line, the regular dinner salad was fresh, cold, and very good.

Nobody commented on the breadsticks. Maybe nobody ate them, we're not sure.

Garden salad

In the pasta alfredo, the noodles were done al dente, with perfectly distributed sauce.

Alfredo

Two in our group ordered the Cuban sandwich, and both lamented that it wasn't pressed, as true Cubans are wont to be. Still, they were good, with thinly sliced meats and pickles a plus.

Cuban

The waffle fries (pictured here with the Monterey chicken wrap) that came with several sandwiches were a big hit. The BBQ sauce was even warmed up a bit - because every time you dip a nice hot fry into cold ketchup or BBQ, your heart breaks a little more.

Wrap

Last but not least, the grilled chicken sandwich with bleu cheese dressing was moist and tender, with a good fresh roll.

As with most big box chains, the portions at Granite City were more than enough. The corporate vim and vigor showed up again in this awesome to-go box with built in ads:

Leftovers

Though negotiating an exit from the West Towne Mall parking lot was not a plus, overall Granite City was a good choice for a birthday lunch with festive coworkers. We were just happy everyone found something to like; Craig even said "everything was very fresh. I'd go back."

That, and a complimentary birthday (Happy 30th, JM) sundae, made for a very good overall experience.

Sundae

Comments

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I really enjoy everything about this restaurant. The servers are very friendly. The food is excellent. I love the chicken parm, as well as the onion soup. I would recommend trying the chicken ceasar chalupa. Something very different yet unique to the restaurant that others do not have. Try it buffalo sauce tossed so the chicken is spicier!!

Can anyone come close to the recipe for the GC bleu cheese dressing?

I was, and have been with return visits, amazed with the complex/appetizing taste the Granite City's menu has to offer being it's a restaurant in a mall. This is a great meal for a fair price; the diner comes out ahead in the food/monetary transaction. Highly recommended for a casual "grab a bite to eat" urge. Ambiance is nice enough to make your mother-in-law happy when she comes to town.

I finally realized that Granite City was a restaurant and not like...a kitchen supply store. We had dinner there last Friday and I was really impressed. Loved the french onion soup, the asiago cheese bread was phenomenal, and the chicken florentine lasagna (lasagna with alfredo, spinach artichoke dip, garlic, and chicken) was really good as well.

There were at least 10 things on the menu that I wanted to try and their Sunday brunch sounds fantastic. Reggiano hash browns? Yes please. Grand Marnier battered french toast? I'm sure THAT's not good at all...can't wait to go back!

Where is Granite City Restaurant at. Because I live in Granite City, IL.

Granite City Brewpub is a chain (correct?) with a location in Madison, WI. I believe it's a name coincidence and not related to either Granite City, IL or Granite City State Park, both near you. The food's good, however, in the event you need a field trip "up north".

Yep, it's a chain that started in St. Cloud, MN, aka "Granite City."

Since nobody has commented lately, I'll add my review. We were a group of 4 and ate there July 4, 2012 for lunch. Everything was very good. I had the prime rib sandwich. My wife had the shrimp and artichoke on flatbread pizza. The other two had a hamburger and a turkey sandwich. All cleaned their plates. The beers were good too.

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