Live from Peoria, Illinois, it’s Saturday Night Cheeseburger, starring this week’s host, The Publik House and featuring the Ready For Prime Beef Player, Marty Wombacher. And now straight from the heart of restaurant row in Peoria Heights, please welcome tonight’s host, The Publik House!
Okay, we're off in search of our weekly Saturday Night Cheeseburger. A few Sundays ago, myself and MBIP contributor Bob Gordon had stopped at the Publik House in Peoria Heights and noted that it was closed. Well, a few days after that, I got an email from a person who works there letting me know that they were open on Sunday for brunch from 10AM to 2PM. That's a little early for me, but she told me they had great burgers there. Her name's Karina and I told her I work till 10PM on Saturday's and she said I could phone in an order earlier and they'd keep the burger warm for me as the kitchen stops taking orders around 10PM. Perfect, so it's off we go, into the heart of the night in search of cheeseburger delight!
Here we are at Publik House. I love the gold leaf lettering on the window and the Guinness neon light.
This is the burger Karina suggested for tonight's dinner. It should be cooked and waiting for us inside...
So let's go in and see what's happening inside of The Publik House.
Wow, it's crowded in here, but I see a seat at the bar, so let's go snag it.
It may be crowded but the service is quick in here. Travis and Erin team up to serve me a can of Old Speckled Hen. I decided to stray from my usual Budweiser, because I had never seen Old Speckled Hen in a can and I knew it would make MBIP contributor Gene Rubbico jealous!
It turns out that Travis is not only a bartender here, he owns the joint! He told me he bought the bar last November and things have been going great. Judging from the crowd in here, he knows what he's doing! Here he is pictured with his lovely wife, Alyssa behind the bar.
And since we phoned the order in, there's no waiting for the burger, here's Travis serving it up with a smile!
Wow, now that's a special looking cheeseburger! And it is the special of the night, the Firestarter Burger. Travis told me they just came up with this recipe a couple of weeks ago. I don't know if I can get my hands around it, but I'm going to try!
Well, I got my hands around it and I'm glad I did. This is one of the best burgers I've ever had! You can read about it in the review below, but one of the things that makes it special is that they grind their own beef here, so it can't get any fresher than that. What a delicious burger!
I got the chili chips for the side dish and they are something else themselves. Very spicy and salty and the perfect compliment to the Firestarter burger. This is shaping up to be a very memorable Saturday Night Cheeseburger evening!
After dinner I had a nice conversation with my neighbors at the bar, Mandy and Cam. It turns out Cam owns a bar called, Cam's Place on Farmington Road. It's in the building that used to house The Lucky Lady, which I used to frequent years ago. I'll be stopping in to Cam's soon, so stay tuned for that. They're really a nice couple and it was fun chatting with them.
The back of the bar is divided into three sections with a mirror behind each area. Here's the front section.
This is the middle of the bar...
And here's the section at the end of the bar where I was sitting with Mandy and Cam.
This unique double fan spins from the ceiling in the middle of the bar and keeps the air circulating in here.
Mini chandeliers hang in front the the mirrors behind the bar. There's a great ambiance in here.
The centerpiece to the bar are these dueling wooden mermaids standing attention and holding globes that light the bar up. Very cool!
In between the mermaids are the taps housed in this impressive Guinness wooden box.
And speaking of taps, here's the patent-pending Spike's tap shot for the evening. I bet these get a high mark on the old Spike ratings chart!
Here's a shot from the back of the bar, as you can see, the crowd hasn't died down.
Booths line the mirrored wall opposite the bar.
Dark wooden tables are set up in the middle of the room to eat and drink at.
This framed piece of art hanging on the back wall was done by local artist Andrew Rodenberg. Very nice!
Meanwhile back at the bar, here's the woman who set the whole evening up, pretty and friendly Karina Fiscal. The whole staff here is really friendly and take time to chat with you, even on a crowded night like tonight.
While I was chatting with Karina, Darcy (left) and Lindsay (right), approached me at the bar. Lindsay told me she was a big fan of the MBIP blog and recognized me while I was sitting at the bar! Well, I decided to end the evening on that high note...
And it's out the door I go. Mucho thanks to Travis, Karina and everyone at The Publik House for making this such a special Saturday Night Cheeseburger! See you all tomorrow.
I called ahead and arranged to have my dinner ready when I arrived. I spoke with Karina and she suggested the Firestarter burger which was the special burger of the evening. What a great recommendation! It’s a burger stuffed with peppers and topped with pepper jack cheese and a chili aiole sauce. It literally assaults you with a combination of spicy and hot flavors, but it doesn’t go over the top where it’s uncomfortable to eat. They grind their own beef at Publik House, so it’s about the freshest and juiciest burger you’ll find around town. Add a bakery fresh bun to the mix and you’ve got one of the best burgers in Peoria and beyond. I got the house-made chili chips for the side and they were out of this world. The perfect compliment to the burger.
There’s six burgers to be had on the menu, including a half pound cheeseburger, a steak burger and a St. Patty’s Melt which is a half pound beef patty, grilled onions, Swiss cheese and Irish dressing on marbled rye bread. Other entrees on the menu are: Guinness Beef Stew, Pork Pot Roast, Sheperds Pie and a grilled New York Strip Steak.
Every Sunday there's a weekly brunch from 10AM to 2PM for all you early Sunday starters.
Four Wimpy’s, an award winning burger, call ahead to see if it’s available. For now, it’s a special, off the menu burger, only available on special nights.