Oh, when I think of how many years I wasted drinking domestic “lite” beers…sometimes I want to cry.
Carol and I had a Friday afternoon off recently and we decided to go to downtown Peoria and have lunch. That usually means Joe’s Crab Shack and this was no exception. We like sitting on the deck at Joe’s which overlooks Lower Peoria Lake, noshing on seafood and sipping white wine. After lunch, we went for a stroll along the riverfront on what had turned out to be a gorgeous October afternoon.
While walking and talking that day, it occurred to me that we are very lucky to live near Peoria, Illinois. And while this isn’t meant to be a tourist piece, if one evaluates the available entertainment, dining, art and recreational opportunities and compares them to other cities the size of Peoria, a strong case can be made for Peoria sitting atop any list you can compile. I’ve been to many river cities and while larger ones such as Milwaukee and San Antonio can certainly offer more of all those things, remember that Peoria is 1/6th the size of Milwaukee and 1/12th the size of San Antonio. The Peoria City Fathers have, through occasional political fisticuffs, created an extraordinary riverfront area and with the addition of beautiful O’Brien Field, the home of the Class A Chicago Cub affiliate Peoria Chiefs, the whole downtown has experienced a bit of a renaissance.
As we continued our walk going southeast along Water Street, we came to State Street and the home of Water Street Wines, Café and Coffees. This is the small bistro that Carol had been wanting to visit. Had we known that they served lunch, we most certainly would have given Joe’s a pass this time because the rest of the visit to this small café was uniquely pleasant. We decided to have a glass of wine and check out the nice outside garden area we noticed on the way in. Carol had an Italian red which she thought was quite good but I noticed that they also had a variety of imported beer selections. I opted for this Czech Republic dark which was also very nice. We did indeed enjoy our drinks in the nice side garden that afternoon and this experience only reinforced our earlier discussion about how many great little out of the way places Peoria has to offer.
Again, I don’t want this to be a review of Water Street Wines, Café and Coffees but we do love supporting these small, incredibly unique places that dot the riverfront in Peoria. And you can be certain that we’ll be frequent visitors to this one. If you go, I can highly recommend this beer and if you have a similar experience to ours, you’ll leave wanting to go back.