On a previous trip to check out the then-Pioneer Club in Kewanee, we discovered another dining option just a block away called Cerno’s Bar and Grill. A quick web search revealed a promising Ride to Eat destination for another day — and that day was finally here.
The relentless July heat had finally let up, making for near perfect riding conditions. Basking in the warm sunlight, I felt the world melt away as he took us north.
As with most rides, our journey ended sooner than I expected — at least it felt sooner. I have a theory that the bike is some sort of time travel device that I’ll have to tell you about another time.
Cerno’s claims it has “the most beautiful back bar you will ever see!” They aren’t kidding. It’s gorgeous! Spanning 50 feet, the mahogany bar is full of embellishments, including a carved cherub and illuminated old-school Pabst logo on each end.
The menu offers typical Midwestern restaurant fare — appetizers, soups and salads, sandwiches and wraps, burgers, dinners and nightly specials — but a couple unique items really stood out. He was intrigued by the Stuffed Green Pepper Soup, while I was surprised by the PBR Burger, which is topped with pepper jack cheese, sriracha cream sauce and, get this, deep-fried PBR beer in a garlic pretzel batter. Yes, you read that correctly: deep-fried PBR!
Despite our curiosity, I was craving pizza, and Cerno’s has a range of tempting pies to choose from.
We started with the Buffalo Shrimp appetizer. The “hype” hot sauce was just hot enough to not overwhelm the delicate flavor of the shrimp, and the light batter added a nice crunch for great texture.
Feeling adventurous, we also tried the Deluxe Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza, which has burger, bacon, a cheese blend, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and a side of pickle. I know it sounds crazy, but — oh my — it was fabulous!
Each bite brought out a different flavor. My taste buds tingled as I experienced the slight tang of mustard, then the smooth creaminess of mayo before a more traditional tomato sauciness from the ketchup. The crispy thin crust held up well under the array of toppings, and the fresh veggies kicked the whole thing up to the next level.
After devouring nearly the whole pizza, we were ready to roll on to our next stop before home: the Psycho Silo.
We both really enjoy the Silo, but our busy summer had prevented a visit to date. We knew they had made quite a few additions while closed for the winter season, so this was the perfect chance to check them out.
Cutting northeast across 34, I realized I had absolutely no sense of where we were — directionally speaking. There were so many twists and turns, I just lost track. Mentally, I figured where I thought we were and how we were approaching our destination.
Wow, was I ever wrong! We came in from the exact opposite direction as I thought. Guess that’s why I’m only navigator when I have a map in my hand.
The place was as busy as always, but we quickly noticed more cars than the previous year. Don’t get me wrong, there were LOTS of bikes, just more cars too. Classic cars, muscle cars, mid-life crisis cars and even family cars. I have to admit, that last one surprised me until we got to the main “building.”
It being our first trip back, we took a moment before climbing the stairs and soaked it all in. There was a huge new deck with a stage that extended back to encompass a large steel trailer. We soon discovered that the trailer is the new “kitchen,” which inspired my next Ride to Eat. I’m sure you can guess to where!
I also spotted a … a … polo shirt?! It was official: the Silo had become a tourist attraction, which made for some excellent and eclectic people watching.
Confident I’d be writing about the Silo soon, we had a couple coo’ ones while watching the band finish setting up. They were just getting going when we headed back to the bike.
It was a smooth ride home, where the “kids” were happy to see us head out to the patio for one last drink before making dinner.
Note: Cerno’s Bar and Grill is located at 213 W. 3rd Street in Kewanee, Ill., and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., with varying hours for food service.