The Mystery Diner and his companion found themselves craving some real American cuisine on a recent Saturday evening so we headed off to the Riverview Diner on Southeast River Road (Route 25) at Mill Street in downtown Montgomery.
Chances are you’ve heard or already have been to the Riverview many times. It has been a popular spot for diners throughout the lower Fox Valley area for years. Initially, the Riverview operated out of a small former Pizza Hut on Southeast River Road, but its success warranted larger quarters and a few years ago the owners acquired a vacant lot next door and constructed a spacious new restaurant, complete with large picture windows overlooking the river, a fireplace, and an outdoor dining area. The fireplace and scenic view gives the Riverview a warm, homey feel and we both found it easy to relax as we settled in our booth.
Our waitress, who was welcoming and attentive, soon arrived with our menus. We were immediately impressed with both the size and variety of the dining options. Simply put, the Riverview offers all good things Americana at reasonable prices. From your classic bacon and eggs and pancakes for breakfast to turkey club sandwiches and Chicken Cesar salads for lunch to Baby Back BBQ ribs, prime rib, honey glazed ham, shrimp baskets and center-cut pork chops for dinner, the chefs at the Riverview – in a stunning display of kitchen wizardry – can do it all.
My companion opted for the shrimp dinner special, while I eyed the French toast (What’s more American than French toast?) under the breakfast offerings that our waitress said are available every day all day. But one last look through the menu as my companion ordered her shrimp prompted me to call an audible at the dining room line of scrimmage. Instead of ordering the French toast, the “Montgomery Burger” on the dinner menu caught my eye. I reasoned: we were dining along the beautiful Fox River in historic downtown Montgomery, why not go for the Montgomery Burger? Certainly the late Daniel Gray, founder of Montgomery and builder of the picturesque Gray’s Mill directly across the river from the Riverview, would approve of my hyper-local dinner selection.
After my companion enjoyed her fresh salad and I finished a homemade-tasting cup of warm chicken and vegetable soup, our dinners arrived.
The Montgomery Burger placed before me was big and beefy, resting on a bed of grilled onions and topped by two hearty strips of bacon and a blanket of melted cheese. Adjacent to the burger was a large leaf of fresh green lettuce, tomato slices and dill pickles. The burger itself was tasty and flavorful, but the grilled onions gave it just the right amount of distinctive zest. Meanwhile my companion enjoyed her battered shrimp which came with a tangy tarter sauce.
While ordering our dinners, we both stole glances at the Riverview’s tempting dessert menu. Giving in to temptation, my companion chose a slice of rich chocolate layer cake which came with a dollop of whip cream topped by a maraschino cherry. To make this creation all the more enticing, the good chefs drizzled chocolate syrup on both the cake and whip cream. As for me, just like with dinner, I went traditional: a classic all-American chocolate sundae. At the suggestion of our friendly waitress, she had my sundae customized with a whip cream topping and, of course, a sweet maraschino cherry served up in a chilled stainless steel cup. It was a perfect nightcap for a classic American meal.
The Mystery Diner recommends the Riverview to anyone looking to enjoy American cuisine in all its tasty and varied forms no matter the day, time or meal. Dine on!
• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Record Newspapers. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. The Mystery Diner is not intended to be a restaurant critic but does highlight the parts of a dining experience that he/she can recommend.
If you go
What: Riverview Diner
Where: 1420 Southeast River Road (Route 25), Montgomery
Hours: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays
Information: Call 630-859-3737 or visit riverviewdiner.com