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November 6, 2009 - Phyllis Sigal
It's always great to see reinvestment in downtown Wheeling.

For example, we have new owners at River City Ale Works. Jason Miller and Becky Schmidt, who both have been a part of the restaurant in various capacities for many years, are now running the downtown eatery and entertainment venue.

Saturday (Nov. 7), Becky and Jason are throwing a big party to celebrate with entertainment by Who's Bad, The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band. Saturday's cover charge also will get you an appetizer buffet and you can make your own hoagies, too, Miller noted.

Entertainment is something that Jason and Becky are interested in kicking up a notch at River City. With live bands on Saturdays, a dj and free appetizers at happy hour on Fridays, wing eating contests every other Tuesday, happy hours Monday through Friday and all-you-can-eat crab legs on Wednesdays ... it sure sounds like a fun place to be!

Jason is in charge of the restaurant/entertainment end of the business, while Becky concentrates on the banquet business. Parties and receptions for up to 400 people can be arranged at the third-floor banquet facility. (I must say, they do a great job having attended a few events there.)

A new chef is on board, but Chef Tom McCardle actually has quite a history with River City. He was the original chef when what was then Nail City opened in 1996. He also served as the brewer when Nail City brewed its own beers.

He's changed some of the recipes of a few menu favorites as well as adding some new items that I'm looking forward to trying.

He pointed out that he specializes in soups and sauces. They're all homemade, he said, and he really enjoys making them. In fact, his Italian wedding soup just won best soup honors at the Crittenton Soup and Salad Luncheon competition.

Chef Tom also enjoys cooking for crowds. He loves preparing food in large quantities for any kind of party, he said.

Jason also wants to accommodate customers who want to make it evening when something is going on in downtown. Come in to River City before a symphony or a Nailers game or a show at the Capitol Theatre, have a nice dinner, then go on to the event. He'll make sure you get out in time!

River City is now open on Mondays for lunch and on Sundays when the Nailers play at home. They also deliver to a limited area, Jason said. New high-definition televisions in the bar, new lighting, more varieties of beer on tap and a new entertainment room are some more of the updates at River City.

Speaking of reinvesting in downtown, I'm pretty excited to see that DiCarlo's is moving over to Crone's former spot. It'll be great to go there and sit down for a couple of squares and a beer instead of eating out of a cardboard box!

And let's hope that sometime in the spring another new restaurant will open up in the former Bill's Hamburger restaurant. What a great location (location, location, location!) and a beautiful building!


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