Rima’s Restaurant Reviews – Rocky’s Bar & Grill – Macomb, Illinois

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In my travels as a sports broadcaster I get to spend some time dining at some of the more interesting places in the cities I travel to. I always try to eat a local place that is unique to the city, not a franchise type eating establishment that most anyone can eat at. While in Macomb, Illinois to broadcast the UNI football game on Saturday Oct. 25 I did just that.

I arrived in Macomb Friday around 4:30pm. I got checked into my hotel and after doing my radio show, ON PRESS ROW with The Sportsguy on NEWSTALK 1540 KXEL, live from the hotel, I wanted to grab something to eat. I was in Macomb two years ago to cover a UNI game and I remembered a bar and grill on Jackson Street so I thought I would head that way. As I was getting ready to leave the hotel I asked the hotel clerk where was a good local place to eat that she would recommend. She said there is a place called the Red Ox, also there was the Jackson Street Brew Pub, and Rocky’s Bar and Grill all on West Jackson Street that were a local establishment. I drove past The Jackson Street Pub and the Red Ox. Next was Rocky’s Bar and Grill so I pulled in.

Appearance: From the outside it doesn’t look like much. It is a rectangular type building with no windows. From the outside it doesn’t look inviting but there was a spot in the parking lot, so I thought what the heck, I’m going in. By the way, there is not a large parking lot right next to the building, but there seems to be plenty of off street parking or other parking available nearby. Once inside it is a cross between a dive and a diner. There is a square bar pretty much in the middle of the place with table seating on each side. It felt comfortable and the bar was calling my name, so I grabbed a chair and waited to be waited on.

  •         For appearance I give 2 1/2 OH BABY’s OH BABY’s OH B

Service: I was greeted at the entrance by an employee and since I was by myself I asked if I could just sit at the bar so I pulled up a stool and made myself at home. I was waited on immediately by a young lady who was handling all the bar’s customers. She was pleasant, friendly and made me feel welcome. Was quick to take my order after getting me an ice cold Stella, with one of those cool Stella glasses, and a menu. Every time she checked in or brought me something I would say “Thank You” and she would always reply “Oh, Thank You.” I thought that was an interesting reply. Usually when someone says “thank you” a reply of, “you’re welcome” follows. So I was thinking, by the way she said it, that not a lot of people told her ‘thank you’ or showed her appreciation for good service. She said it in a tone like, ‘Oh…..Thank You,’ for thanking me! Anyway, I had some fun with this. I ‘thanked’ her to death. I thanked her for bringing me a beer. I thanked her for bringing me a glass for the beer. I thanked her for bringing me a menu, and taking my order, and bringing me my silverware, and bringing me my food and checking to see if I needed anything else. And, well, she thanked me back every time!

  • For service I give them 4 1/2 OH BABY’s OH BABY’s OH BABY’s OH BABY’s OH B

The Menu: For a bar and grill they had a large menu. A little bit of everything was available. From appetizers, sandwiches and full dinners, you name it, they probably had it. They had a sandwich called the “horseshoe.” Of course I had to ask my bartender/waitress what that was. It is a meal that features the following layers; toast, meat, French fries and cheese. You could add onions on top or tomatoes. It was a meal that was started in Springfield, Illinois and is popular in the state. I thanked her for explaining it…..and she thanked me back! The prime rib was sounding real good, but so did a steak. I also considered the grilled salmon, but at the last minute I decided on the catfish dinner.

  • I give the menu 4 OH BABY’s OH BABY’s OH BABY’s OH BABY’s

The Food: It had been a while since I had catfish for dinner. The menu said it was a one pound serving. I ordered a baked potato to go with and instead of a salad, tonight I went with the Wisconsin cheese soup. First of all, the cup of cheese soup from the state to the East of Iowa was really good. So good when I finished it I asked my bartender/waitress if she would refill it for me and charge me whatever she needed to. It was that good. I told her thank you and…….she said….OH Thank you back. My main course came out quickly and the catfish filled the entire plate. It was a plate so big the baked potato did almost did not fit. This was one big fish, catfish that is. And it was delicious. It was cooked perfectly. White flakey fish that just easily came off the bone and tasted really, really good. The baked potato was too cooked to perfection and I ate all of it. It was an excellent dinner and the portions were just right.

  • I give the food 4 1/2 OH BABY’s OH BABY’s OH BABY’s OH BABY’s OH B

Miscellaneous:  Macomb is the home of the Western Illinois Leathernecks. Their mascot is named “Rocky” hence this local watering hole calls itself ‘Rocky’s Bar and Grill.’ It seemed like more of a grill than a bar. The reason I say that? It seemed like the customers would come into eat and then take off once they were done. I really didn’t notice many people simply sitting in the place there to just drink. Now, keep in mind, I was there between 6:30 and 8 p.m. so the crowd could change to more of a drinking, or party crowd, later at night. I think I noticed a sign on the entrance door that said the kitchen closed at 10:00 pm so they might draw a bar crowd later at night. They had some flat screen TV’s up but it didn’t have a sports bar atmosphere like some of the newer sports bars that are cropping up all around the country. Also, there were not a lot of TV’s in the place so there were spots in the establishment that a patron wouldn’t be able to see what was on the TV. I had a flat screen TV nearly right in front of me as I sat at the bar and enjoyed watching the World Series before I heading back to my room for some last minute studying and a good night’s sleep in preparation for the big game the next day.

I enjoyed Rocky’s Bar and Grill and feel like I got a little ‘local flavor’ during the short time I was in Macomb. By the way, when I paid my bill I told my bartender/waitress “thank you,” and…….she gave me one last “OH…Thank YOU!”

  • My overall rating for Rocky’s Bar and Grill4 OH BABY’s OH BABY’s OH BABY’s OH BABY’s

  (Note: The Sportsguys’ RRR rating system is based on a maximum of 5 OH BABY’s)