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Taste Buds: River City Ale Works

Buds rediscover popular Wheeling restaurant

December 8, 2011

Not too many events in the local restaurant scene manage to escape the Buds' notice.

That is precisely why the Buds were shocked to learn that River City Ale Works in Wheeling has been under new ownership since the Buds' last "official" visit back in 2006. An alert co-worker filled them in on this fact, as well as the fact that the current owners like to make menu changes periodically to keep things new and exciting. The Buds LOVE new and exciting!

Two hungry Buds headed to Wheeling this past week to check out what the popular eatery has to offer.

After looking over the lunch menu, the Buds were pleased to find several new interesting sounding dishes to choose from, along with some of the old River City faves such as the crab cake sandwich (which is KILLER btw), the Mountain burger and all-you-can-eat crab legs on Wednesdays.

A few other dishes from the lunch menu that caught the Buds' attention were the sauteed pierogies (potato and cheese pierogies sauteed with onions and peppers and tossed in garlic butter), the portabella mushroom sandwich (sliced, marinated portabellas with cheese and red peppers - yum!) and the crab cake salad (one of their fabulous grilled lump crab cakes served on mixed greens and topped with red onions, cucumbers and jack and cheddar cheeses).

Faced with the tough task of making a selection, Bud Em decided to use the trusty method of closing her eyes and pointing. As fate would have it, she landed on the apple chicken salad. Fresh grilled chicken breast topped a bed of mixed greens along with chunks of cheddar cheese, sliced apples, tomatoes and walnuts. Bud Em chose the balsamic dressing for the salad, which rang in at $8.99. The salad was very tasty. The chicken was tender and juicy and the veggies were fresh and crisp. Bud Em was very happy with her choice.

Bud Shaunna opted to go with the Thai chicken wrap, which is a 12-inch tortilla filled with grilled or fried chicken mixed with Thai sauce, chow mein noodles, pepper jack cheese, peanuts, lettuce and tomato. This doozy came with a side (Bud Shaunna went with creamy cucumbers) and also totaled $8.99. The Thai sauce had a nice zest, and the noodles gave this yummy wrap a delicious crunch. But the real star of Bud Shaunna's plate were the cucumbers. The cucumbers were halved and tossed in a semi-sweet cream-based sauce and were nothing short of amazing.

In addition, Bud Shaunna had the pleasure of eating at River City the week before the "official" Bud visit. On that visit, she opted for the day's special-soft tacos. The taco meat was tangy and seasoned with rosemary, which gave it somewhat of a Caribbean flavor. Having just spent a week in Jamaica, Bud Shaunna thoroughly enjoyed these tasty tacos, which were served fajita-style with warm soft shells and various toppings.

After lunch, the Buds couldn't help but sneak a peak upstairs at the Artisan Center. There's nothing better than looking through tons of handmade pottery, jewelry, crafts and food items while catching the enticing scent of the food being served downstairs. All around, this lunchtime trip was a winner, and the Buds eagerly await River City's next new and exciting menu items!

The Buds may be reached at



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