Although not actually in St. Charles, Annie Gunns is not far away and the extensive menu as well as the market next door makes this a good choice for lunch or dinner.
The restaurant is huge and also has a covered outdoor dining area. The interior is separated into two large sections each with an impressive wood and glass bar. Decor is brick and dark wood with a large wood burning fireplace and booths along the wall. I found it strange that they didn’t accept reservations, at least for lunch, and was told there is often a wait to get a table.
The menu is varied enough to appeal to all tastes: from burgers and salads to steaks and chops, the food is well prepared, attractively presented and portions are substantial enough that a late lunch will negate the need for anything more than a bowl of soup for supper.
Tracey ordered a grilled pork loin sandwich served on a brioche with melted jalapeno cheese and served with pear chutney and French fries. Joyce’s French dip was served au jus on a chewy French baguette with havarti cheese and fries. My clubhouse was stacked so high that it was a challenge to eat and was filled with turkey, ham, smoked bacon, tomato, lettuce and two cheeses. It was served with a spicy cracked pepper mayonnaise and fruit salad. Bea opted for grilled cheese but even that was a gourmet meal with cheddar, edam and gruyere cheeses all melted together on toasted sourdough and served with a cup of their thick and flavourful potato chowder.
This was our last lunch before Bea and I left for home so we went all out and finished our meal with dessert. Even this presented quite a challenge because of the wide variety of choices. Eventually we decided on two desserts to share - apple pie with cinnamon ice cream and a chocolate ganache torte with raspberry sauce and both were excellent.
Next time we’re coming here for dinner where meat lovers can choose from smoked pork loin chops, grilled lamb chops, New York strip steak, prime rib, filet and veal chops with additions like black truffle barolo wine sauce, foie gras, wild mushroom sauvignon cracked pepper sauce and portabella mushroom roasted garlic sauce. Dinner entrees start at $20 and can go upwards of $35. Appetizers are in the $10-15 range and include grilled prosciutto wrapped shrimp, wild mushroom raviolis, crab cakes, goat cheese and mixed green salad and a multi country cheese plate with selections from Belgium, France, and Spain.
Next door, the Country Market sells many of the imported ingredients and items used in Annie’s recipes and is a nice place to buy food items/gifts.