Restaurant Spotlight - Emil's Hideaway
Article by Jane Claspy Nesmith
Photography by Justin Fox

Summer breezes are blowing, the sun is shining, and Emil’s Hideaway is breaking out some cool and refreshing summer drinks. When paired with signature favorites from the menu, they make a perfect meal for a summer night.

We stopped in at Emil’s for a meal and heard about a few summer drink offerings that we just couldn’t pass up. Both of the drinks we tried were visually gorgeous and delicious. The Twisted Vine, which features muddled grapes and lemons in 3 Olives grape vodka with 7up, was my favorite. It has a fresh, bright flavor, not too sweet.

We also tried a drink that’s not even on the menu: the PIneapple Moscow Mule. Seems like every bar these days has Moscow Mules, but this one’s special. Besides the usual--vodka, ginger beer, mint, lime, and simple syrup--this summery version has a splash of pineapple juice, and the vodka is a pineapple-infused version. Fruity with a hint of sparkle, this drink will taste just right on a hot afternoon.

If you’re at Emil’s, you have to try the appetizers. They went great with the cool drinks. First, there was a plate of dynamite shrimp--seasoned and fried jumbo shrimp tossed in creamy, spicy Boom Boom sauce--we ate every last bite. The spicy chicken rangoons were also a favorite. They’re a twist on the usual crab rangoon, but the crispy fried wonton is filed with a homemade mix of shredded chicken, cream cheese, onion, and sauce. They had a bit of heat, but nothing we couldn’t handle. Savory stuffed mushroom caps rounded out our appetizer choices.

You could almost make a meal of Emil’s appetizers. But we couldn’t visit without having some of the entrees that are made in-house every day.

Great food is a family tradition at Emil’s Hideaway. Part-owner Nathan Allick is the grandson of Emil Allick, owned Emil’s Deli--that iconic sandwich shop established in downtown Cedar Rapids in 1964. Nathan’s dad, Dave Allick ran the Deli later. Now Nathan is continuing the local restaurant business at the Hideaway along with his brother Chris, and Allyn Secor and Jayme Tegeler.

Nathan made some suggestions for entrees and we were not disappointed. At our table, we tried three. We couldn’t pass up the BBQ burger. Made with meat ground fresh in house and then seared on a flat grill to lock in juices, this burger featured two quarter-pound patties, bacon, cheddar cheese, fried onion strings (which are also made in-house) and--of course--barbeque sauce. It’s a mouthful, and if we’d been less hungry, we might have ordered the junior version, which has just one patty.

We also tried something a little lighter: the grilled Mahi. I love to order fish when I’m out, but my dining companions are not seafood fans. Still, when they tried a bite of the Thai-inspired season Mahi served on a bed of snow peas, carrots, and pineapple, they pronounced it delicious. “Almost tastes like pork,” was the verdict.

Pizza at Emil’s Hideaway is always delicious, and because we loved the spicy chicken rangoons so much, Nathan recommended the shrimp rangoon pizza. The same creamy-spicy flavors were featured in this pizza, which is also topped with shrimp, green onions, fried wonton bits, and sweet Asian sauce. It was delicious hot and the leftovers I took home were also good cold.

Even though we were full from our big meal, we decided to share a dessert. Emil’s Hideaway partners with another local business, Kathy’s Pies, for their dessert menu. “We usually have three or four kinds of pie each week,” said Nathan. We tried Bayou Goo, and it was the perfect light and sweet end to our meal. It’s got a cheesecake base with chocolate cream and nuts, then topped with whipped cream.

Summer should mean easy meals for all of us, and Emil’s offers just what you’ll be craving this summer: delicious burgers, grilled entrees, and pizza--all available with cool and refreshing summer drinks.

Emil’s Hideaway
222 Glenbrook Dr SE
Cedar Rapids, IA
(319) 743-3123
www.emilshideaway.com

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