You know, I wish that I had Jessie’s girl,
I wish that I had Jessie’s girl
Where can I find a woman like that
Jessie’s Girl — Music and Lyrics by Rick Springfield
Remember that one?
I don’t know if the name of Uptown’s new restaurant is a play on words, but every time I see the sign for Jesse’s Grille in the lobby of the Uptown Normal Marriott, the song Jessie’s Girl, that 1981 staple of early MTV starts running through my head. So if it isn’t a play on that popular song, it should be.
Despite the 80’s musical flashback, I’ve been to Jesse’s Grille twice in the past three days. And I was impressed on each occasion.
Dayna and I met there for an impromptu lunch Friday and were seated in a booth. I was able to lean up against a pillow. You can’t do that everywhere.
I ordered a bowl of the chicken gumbo and the skirt steak dip. The soup was hot and had a flavorful kick. The skirt steak was very tender and was piled high on a fresh, soft bun. The au jus was actually a very small bowl of french onion soup. My fries were hot and crisp. Good lunch.
I know it’s shocking, but we knew several people who were dining there. When of one of them joked to us that “this place is like Mayberry and there’s a new restaurant to try in Mayberry.” I had to laugh.
Guilty as charged.
(Note to those following the Town’s budget discussions: Our state income tax receipts are down, but the economy hasn’t slowed local food and beverage tax receipts too much. I’m not a big fan of the property tax, but I really draw the line when it comes to raising taxes on one of our community’s most beloved activities — eating out.)
After lunch, we walked through the Normal Conference Center to see who was holding meetings. It looked to be a conference of the Association of Illinois Architects. They had a small trade show in the pre-function area of the center. The day before, Growmark, Inc. was holding a meeting next door to the local Economic Development Council’s annual meeting.
Anyway, we took my mother-in-law to the hotel Sunday morning to show her around and try the Jesse’s Grille breakfast buffet. The buffet features the chef making three egg omelets to order. There’s also a selection of breakfast meats, hash brown potatoes, blueberry pancakes, bagels, cereal, and pastries. Juice and coffee are included in the price of the buffet.
My Denver omelette was excellent, and Dayna offered me some of her outstanding wild mushroom and cheese omelette, which I will probably order the next time. The pancakes are rolled up, filled with blueberries and dusted with powered sugar.
I was so full I shouldn’t have had to eat the rest of the day.
No question, I got my $13 worth, and we will be working Jesse’s Grille into our Sunday morning breakfast rotation.
Other than the familiar faces of a few restaurant employees, this time we didn’t recognize a single soul in the restaurant. By the time we left, there was a line of folks waiting to be seated. Evidently, it was a busy night at the hotel.
It was gratifying to see a number of families of ISU students spending the weekend in Uptown Normal within walking distance from campus.
These hotel guests probably didn’t know it, but they were staying in a property rated four diamond by AAA, the only hotel between Chicago and St. Louis with the four diamond rating.
These establishments are upscale in all areas. Accommodations are progressively more refined and stylish. The physical attributes reflect an obvious enhanced level of quality throughout. The fundamental hallmarks at this level include an extensive array of amenities combined with a high degree of hospitality, service, and attention to detail.