There isn’t much to do in St. Charles, IL; there is a casino in Elgin and the Q Center, but definitely one of the attractions we found was Al Capone’s Hideaway and Steakhouse.
Getting there itself was a bit of a process – most cabbies know the way but there are very specific directions and a tuneup on your car before you head to the Hideaway, because otherwise you will be lost and/or end up sliding into the river. There is a very steep hill right before the entrance and no guard rail to prevent you from driving into the river! I guess that was for the bootlegging!
I have a strong weakness for old mob stories so that is what initially drew me to this place which was an actual old speakeasy of Al Capone’s. The hostess sat the party in Capone’s parlor – which is a small room with a huge fireplace that is always burning. Keeps the room nice a toasty.
It’s hidden from the rest of the restaurant and very quiet.
This place definitely has the character and charm of an old hideaway. It is dimly lit and we were lucky enough to garner a table in the front room with a great view of the Fox River. That said, be aware, this is a house. And an old one at that. It even smells like an old house (w/ steak and garlic).
One word of warning…the bathrooms are small. Actually small is generous. Did I mention that the bathrooms are a bit creepy in the late night. The stalls are tiny with curtain doors, and the lighting is very dim. You sort of feel like the ghost of Al Capone is going to pop out at any moment…Boo!
This place is great just for the memorabilia throughout the place is enough to keep you on that roaring 20s high all night. They even have the original bathtub that the place used to make gin … well I don’t know if it is an original bathtub, but they will let you stand in the tub for pictures.
We first received their house baked bread. Trust me, it’s like nothing you’ve eaten before! The bread was fresh, warm, and dripping (literally) with flavor. Bursts of sweet onion, herbs, or garlic were infused in each bite. With complimentary bread this good, how much better would it get? Did I mention that the bread is actually soaking in a bowl of olive oil?
All the meals come with house salad, French onion soup and palate cleanser (lemon sorbet) – the feedback on both of them was excellent. One description went like this … “I’ve had this soup in many iterations in many restaurants, and almost all of them have been too salty or bland. This one was phenomenal! The cheese was perfectly layered on top and crusted with beautiful golden color. And the bread they used was the same house baked bread I ate previously. Without a doubt, the best French onion soup I’ve ever had.”
Most people had the Filet Mignon, while I had a single slab of ribs. The restaurant thankfully is not ala carte which you find at most other steak restaurants and this makes the restaurant a good value for the money. The bill for 6 people with wine, came out to be about 260$ with tip – which is a very reasonable value for a middle class steakhouse.
Personally, I thought it was a great one off place, if you’re in St. Charles, where you can actually get an appreciation for the peacefulness of the surroundings and how it might have been 90 yrs ago – since the area is still not completely developed. I can imagine it now, with the type of gangsters that frequented this place, throwing who knows who into the river or just being outside having a cigar and taking in the beauty of the area.