- 12801 University Ave., Clive, IA, 50325
- Overall User Rating:
- (11 ratings)
- 11 a.m.-midnight Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday
- Official Web Site:
The last time I reviewed Granite City, in 2003, I wasn’t overly impressed. I found the kind of big-portioned, bulked-up food that people like to fill up on when they’re focused on the TVs (rather than what’s on their plate). I never went back.
And yet, food-lovers I know sometimes mention this place as one of the few chains they’re likely to frequent. After two recent visits, I found some choices that went beyond boiler-plate American chain food, in all its quasi-Cajun, vaguely Southwestern, balsamic-Caesar-blackened, Alfredo-sauced, honey-mustard, lemon-pepper predictability. That is, I found a few reasons for non-chain enthusiasts to give this a place a go.
Menu: You’ll find plenty of the aforementioned chain-fare buzzwords on the menu—and plenty of garlic mashed potatoes to go around. Yet among the sandwiches, pastas, burgers, salads and entrées, I did nail down a few items that transcended the rote.
Best of show: I fear that the increasingly popular Cuban sandwich could become the next Caesar salad (a potentially wonderful dish that, at some point, got the flavor focus-grouped right out of it).
Get one here before it suffers the Caesar salad fate. This version brings a warm, moist, oozy, flavor-packed twist on the classic, with turkey (rather than ham), as well as good-quality roast pork, pickles, Swiss cheese, a slather of aioli and yellow mustard.
Looking for something remotely healthful, I gave the Buffalo Burger a try. Certainly, it’s not as juicy a full-fat beef-based burger, but this more healthful option will be an immensely satisfying way for anyone watching their fat intake to actually eat a burger instead of chicken (again!).
I’ve never considered pizza an appetizer, as it’s listed on this menu, but here, the thin, brittle-crusted pie, topped with its judicious sheen of good ingredients worked beautifully as something to share amongst the table with a glass of wine as we settled into dinner.
Not so much: A pile of lukewarm mashed potatoes downgraded the otherwise decent crunchy-coated walleye.
Annoyances: Typical of food-runner-system restaurants, one night’s server was not there when we needed him, and all-too present when we didn’t (hint: if we’re still chewing on our main course, don’t ask us if we want dessert just because you happen to be walking by the table).
Bottom line: As always, it pays to keep an open mind.