Emil’s Hideaway Restaurant Spotlight
Article by Shannon McGraw
Photography by Justin Fox
Emil’s Hideaway is a locally-owned treasure tucked away at 222 Glenbrook Drive SE off of First Avenue. It is among my favorite spots in the Corridor to stop for a sensational meal and drinks. They have an extensive menu, with a blend of luxury and comfort food.
From appetizers and sandwiches, to pizzas and pastas, and classic entrées; all made in-house with fresh ingredients. They also offer a full bar and a great selection of 12 beers on tap along with a variety of beers by bottle. The on-tap beer includes a line from Lion Bridge, a local Cedar Rapids brewery, and two lines from Lagunitas, a popular west coast brewery. The Mixologists behind the bar are all remarkable at their craft and create a variety of specialty mixed drinks. My favorite is The Twisted Vine; Three Olives Grape Vodka poured over lightly muddled grapes and lemon slices finished with soda water to make a crisp, refreshing cocktail.
The trendy ambiance adds to the “dining out” experience. Dark wood tables and floors, walls featuring unique abstract paintings, and special touches like an illuminated red-rock wall, lights embedded in the bar, and a large salt-water fish tank along the back wall creates a fun and vibrant upscale atmosphere. Subdued lighting is perfectly placed over each dining area to make it cozy and inviting. The large space offers bar, high top, table and booth seating, accommodating for couples and groups alike. The service is always stellar and the food and drinks exceptional. Their servers are very knowledgeable about the menu and specials and how to pair beer and wine choices with confidence.
Emil’s is known for their legendary appetizers, superb burgers and sandwiches and unique pizza combinations that stay on the menu regularly, but they have recently added a Chef’s Feature weekly special to keep the menu fresh and give patrons a chance to try some new creations.
I joined a couple of friends for lunch recently and had the opportunity to try out the weeks new Chef’s Feature Specials. This week the chef created Reuben Wontons, a Chicken Strip Po’ Boy, that can be substituted with shrimp, and a Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza. We decided to share all of the specials so we wouldn’t miss out on anything new; along with our usual order of Stuffed Mushrooms. We always get an order of Emil’s Stuffed Mushrooms as our group has decided that they are the best in the area hands-down. These jumbo mushroom caps are larger than life and taste, to me, like an Italian pizza. Stuffed with Emil’s homemade sausage, bacon, spinach and cream cheese mixture and then topped with a five cheese blend melted to cheesy perfection.
The Reuben Wontons were a great twist on their typical Reuben sandwich. Bite size crispy wontons stuffed with tender corned beef with just a smattering of sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, served with house-made Thousand Island dressing on the side for dipping. Very tasty! Chef adds just enough sauerkraut to bring a tangy zest to the corned beef but not so much so take it takes over the palate.
The Chicken Strip Po’ Boy was also a great creation. Crispy chicken tenders topped with creamy Cajun slaw and sliced tomatoes, served on a toasted white roll. This can also be substituted with Emil’s jumbo fried shrimp. The Cajun slaw compliments the chicken and shrimp to give it that great southern twist.
Emil’s menu includes an entire page of pizzas made with homemade authentic Italian Neapolitan dough. Usually when we stop in we share the Hawkeye pizza. Delicious thin sliced roast sirloin with crumbled crispy bacon, diced onions, green peppers, and mushrooms topped with cheddar cheese and Thousand Island dressing. Yum! But today we wanted to try all of the chef’s specials so we ordered the chicken bacon ranch pizza. And we were not disappointed! Diced grilled chicken and crumbled bacon topped with lettuce and tomatoes and drizzled with house-made ranch dressing. The crust is light and crisp and the toppings balanced perfectly to all meld together. I can safely say we give all of the Chef’s Feature Specials this week a thumbs up!
With the holidays coming up, think of getting a gift certificate to Emil’s Hideaway for that hard-to-shop-for person or someone that just loves really good food. I know I would appreciate a certificate to Emil’s Hideaway!
Emil’s would also love to host your holiday part this year! If you are looking for a place to host your holiday party, the Hideaway is available on Sundays for private events of all sizes. Closed on Sundays to the public, Emil’s can host your holiday party with ease. Contact Emil’s Hideaway with any inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
222 Glenbrook Dr SE, Cedar Rapids