Over the last few weeks, you’ve heard me talking about “one year.” Today is actually an anniversary. It was one year ago today that J and I were in town for the first time together. She had flown in for an interview back in February, but it wasn’t until March 17 that she was actually offered a job. She and I were in Chicago because we had just gotten back from Bristol, TN and decided to take a few more vacation days. While we were at her parents, she got the phone call offering her the job. Since we were two hours closer, we thought we’d best take a trip to our new home to find an apartment.
After signing a lease, we needed to find lunch before that long drive back to Peoria. We had been on the road all weekend. We actually slept in a different state every night for five straight nights. Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan. It was kind of a whirlwind weekend topped off by my brother announcing he and his wife were having my parents first grandchild followed by me announcing I was moving with my girlfriend to Michigan. We ran the gamut of emotions. Before I started dating J, I never expected to leave Peoria. I was happy enough with my job. I didn’t love it, but it paid the bills and I don’t like moving. J had an opportunity come up here that we couldn’t pass up. I didn’t want to be five hours away and my career was going nowhere where I was at, so it was time for a change.
We drove downtown that first day looking for something to eat. The first thing that jumped out was a sports bar across the street from Oldsmobile Park. We both like sports bars so after a few more minutes of exploring, we headed back to the Nuthouse.
Since I’m going to be working a lot over the next month, I wanted to do something special for J. I told her I was taking her out for dinner, but I didn’t tell her where until I parked the car. I think she was surprised as I was that I actually remembered the date.
Our second trip to the Nuthouse started just like the first. We were met by a host who showed us to a non-smoking table. I only point that out because our non-smoking table was two tables away from a smoking table. Why they even ask is a mystery. The two sections aren’t really separated. It’s kind of surprising we haven’t been back to this place in a year. We both really like the layout and feel of the place. Everything from the hardwood floors to the exposed brick to the high, unfinished ceilings really make the Nuthouse a comfortable place.
We started with Coke’s while we looked over the menu. The last sandwich I had here was also the first time I had ever had a black ‘n bleu burger. Hell, it was the first time I ever had bleu cheese. Why I ordered it, I’ll never figure out, but it became my absolute favorite way to eat a burger. I passed this time and ordered the BBQ Bacon Burger. The 1/2 pound angus beef burger comes topped with bacon, cheddar cheese and a sweet BBQ sauce. The sandwich is served on a toasted kaiser roll. The burger was as good as I remembered it. The BBQ was a really sweet Memphis style sauce. The bacon was a little chewy, but nothing I couldn’t deal with. I had a hard time putting the burger down. Partially because it was so damn good and partially because if I did, it sat in a pile of BBQ sauce and made the bun really messy. The burger came with fries which are seasoned with a lot of salt and other spices. There wasn’t a whole lot in the basket, but what was there was very tasty.
J ordered the BBQ Chicken sandwich. Her sandwich came with a grilled chicken breast, a tangy BBQ sauce, onion crisps, and melted pepperjack cheese on a kaiser roll. She really liked the sandwich. She loved the sauce which I believe was Sweet Baby Ray’s. The biggest thing she liked about the sandwich was the bun. The bun was toasted which prevented the BBQ sauce from making the bun soggy. Her sandwich also came with fries.
Our bill was right at $20 and for some reason, getting our check was the most frustrating part of the meal. Our waitress disappeared twice. We sat with empty plates for quite a while, then it took her a long time to print the check out. It literally added twenty minutes to our meal and we were on J’s dinner break.
The atmosphere is amazing. The Nuthouse is everything you expect from a sports bar. Today was the first day of the NCAA tournament and there was a TV wall with every game on. I’m going to be spending a lot of time at Lugnuts games this year and I’m hoping we spend a little time at The Nuthouse after those games.
So here we are, one year later. It was a big adjustment, but it’s been a really fun year. We’ve done a lot of things we never would have done had we still lived in Peoria. It’s been fun exploring the area and hunting out new restaurants. I got the idea for this blog before we moved, but I knew a move was imminent, so I never started it. After one year, I’ve written 708 posts, gotten 864 comments from readers and I’m fast approaching 100,000 page views. I said earlier I pretty much thought I’d spend my whole career in Peoria. How things change in a year. Earlier this month, the shop I worked at was shut down and everyone was laid off. I left on my own terms and I did it to be closer to the woman I love. No regrets.