I hadn't been back to Stacy's in Bellwood for over ten years. On that first visit, I had a memorable meal with an eccentric former CIA agent, UFOlogist, and friend of those who really know what went down at Roswell.
A few weekends ago, I had dinner two nights in a row with friends of mine who are retiring and moving away. For one of those dinners, we met up at Stacy's.
Walking in, I couldn't help but notice the place had kind of a musty smell, like maybe they needed to wash the carpets. The scent, not strong but present, was kind of similar to what I've picked up at retirement homes where I've visited parents and relatives. There was another table full of senior citizens and a random collection of guys at the bar; a person sat at the video poker machine, looking appropriately listless. The servers were friendly, and the room seemed a throwback to the kind of old-timey joints I used to go years ago, places like Steven's Steakhouse in Elmhurst or Horwath's in Elmwood Park.
The meal we had with our old friends – some of whom we've known for over 40 years and who, sad to say, we may never see again – was also comfortingly old school.
We started with vodka martinis, generous pours and capably prepared. I would expect that kind of care at a place like this. The people who come to Stacy's still remember the days of the Three Martini Lunch, and I'm sure the barkeep knows that a whimpy, watered-down marty is not going to wash.
Our oysters Rockefeller were pretty good, though instead of béchamel they just melted some kind of white cheese on the top, which was really kind of a cheat, tasting, but definitely a corner-cutting move.
Carolyn had a butt steak and I had the shrimp de Jonghe, both fine, nothing exciting, just capable presentations, exactly what you'd expect.
What I like about Stacy's, however, has less to do with the food and more to do with the Eisenhower era road house vibe of the place. The food and cocktails are just what you'd expect, and although the place smells a little funny, I'll be back because I like the way it feels.
845 Mannheim Road
Bellwood, Illinois 60104-2017