See...I told you this week would be Midwest heavy. Check this place out. Thanks so much to my friend Amy for sending this review in!
The Background: Lago's (as the locals call it) is technically a candy store. They have been in business in Moline, IL for more than 100 years and are still family owned. Seriously, THE. BEST. CHOCOLATE. I. HAVE. EVER. TASTED. They have been in the same old building in downtown Moline since 1918 (they have another location in the Village of East Davenport). It has the tiny hexagonal tiles on the floor, about a dozen mahogany booths with little blue Tiffany lamps and a big long candy display counter opposite a soda fountain with counter seating.
The Food: You have to love a place where the menu is mostly made up of various sundaes made with homemade hot fudge, soda made with syrup at a fountain, etc. There is a tiny little 1/4 of a page of the menu that has the non-ice cream type food. They have 2 soups every day, except in fall and winter when they have chili every day and one soup. Their chili is great - very mild with lots of tomatoes and peppers and some beans. But the really good stuff are the sandwiches. And it's not fancy sandwiches, just really dang good ones. They have a Ruben, but I am not a Ruben person, so I have never tried it. What they do have is very good homemade rye bread. It is a light rye with no seeds and a very mild flavor.
My Usual: Lago's is the first and only place where I have ever had a meal that I could order as "the usual." But Shelia, the waitress, knows me and knows that I LOVE tuna salad on toasted homemade rye with lettuce and tomato. I don't know how they do it, but Lago's gets good tomatoes year round. Sheila also knows what kind of day I've had at work if I order a sundae or a scoop of ice cream when I am done with my sandwich.
The Exception: I do not get my usual if they have tomato soup. If the soup of the day is tomato soup, I get a cup of that and a grilled cheese on that same homemade rye bread. I know, seems a little silly to pay money to have someone else make you a grilled cheese sandwich, but this is the best grilled cheese ever. Magnificent. Our office has been freezing and that is exactly what I had for lunch on Wednesday (photo attached). That, and I bought a caramel apple to share with the boyfriend later. The caramel is of course homemade and really frikkin good.
Other Things to Know: At Easter they do these big chocolate eggs that are like a shell around individually wrapped truffles. At Valentine's Day, they have about 700 different styles of heart shaped boxes to choose from. You can buy a loaf of their homemade rye bread, sliced and it makes amazing turkey sandwiches with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. My favorite items from the candy counter are dark chocolate pecan dainties or dark chocolate covered caramels (same caramel that's on the apples in the fall).