Mario’s Is Back

Mario and Angela's Italian Cucina 03-27-2015When I hit Cape last fall, I was disappointed to see that Mario’s Pasta House in Jackson had closed. I was super happy to see a Facebook notice that it was going to reopen in Cape as Mario and Angela’s Italian Cucina. It’s located on Broadway and Penny, diagonally across from Southeast Hospital (or whatever they’re calling it these days).

All you’re going to get today is a night shot of the building. They were getting slammed so hard the other night that I didn’t even TRY to shoot photos inside. I’ll have the full report in a few days. (I ordered Stromboli to go. It was as good as ever.)

Gordonville Grill: Good Food, Good Value

I’m sure there are some Central High School folks in town for the reunion who are searching for somewhere with good food reasonably priced.

When I was in town this spring, Mother and I decided to try some places we’d never visited. I wrote about Mario’s Pasta House earlier.  (I’ve eaten there twice on this trip and it keeps getting better.) [Editor’s note: Mario’s has moved to Cape, on Broadway just west of Southeast Hospital, but it’s as good as ever.]

The second place is Gordonville Grill. It’s close to Jackson, Cape Girardeau and the metropolis of Dutchtown. There’s a map at the bottom of the page.

Owner Andy Hancock

Andy Hancock and his wife, Amy, opened the Gordonville Grill in 2007. “Ninety percent of restaurants fail in the first three years. We’ve been here four years, so I think we’re going to make it.” Based on what I’ve seen in the eight or ten times I’ve eaten there, the couple have a solid customer base that is growing as friends tell friends about the place.

“We do traditional advertising and have worked the Internet, but most of our business comes from word of mouth,” Andy explained. “We get them in here the first time, we win them over, then they tell their friends. That’s our advertising plan. In a small town, it’s our experience that if you’re the first to know of a place and introduce something new to a friend, then you’re kind of a hero.”

Gordonville Grill offers comfort foods

Andy grew up in Jackson and his wife lived in several small towns (like there’s anything else around) in Southeast Missouri. Both worked at Outback Steakhouse. He majored in business and marketing at SEMO.

They found that Cape Girardeans were initially drawn to the novelty of what Andy calls the Big Box restaurants in the early to mid-90s, but are eager to try small, privately-owned businesses now if they present good food at reasonable prices in attractive surroundings.

“I can’t compete with the big box stores with their purchasing power,” he said, “but I can provide food made from scratch with quality ingredients. We provide the personal touch. We make ‘comfort foods,’ like Beef Stroganoff and Sloppy Joes, food I grew up with.”

You can get more information, including their menu here at their website. Warning: turn your speakers down. For some reason, websites in Cape insist on launching audio as soon as the page loads.

Gordonville Grill building built in 1912

Andy said the building was built in 1912 as a general store. A Missourian story from June 21, 1938, announced that W.H. Bangert has sold his general merchandise business in Gordonville to W. A. Clark of Sikeston.

He and Mrs. Bangert operated the store for 43 years and four months, during which time the store became widely known as a place where goods were as represented and prices reasonable. In the last decades, the business was housed in a modern brick building, with residence flats in the second story and located on the most prominent corner in the village.

There was a follow-up story a month later that said Mr. Bangert, 64, was going to “take it easy” after selling his store by operating two farms, the Gordonville Post Office and filling the office of bank president.  Follow this link to read more about Mr. Bangert, an interesting character.

What’s on the menu?

I can say that I haven’t been disappointed with anything I’ve ordered. The catfish were fixed just the way I like them, lightly breaded and crispy; the fresh-sliced fried okra is a pleasing appetizer; the Ultimate Nachos were a little different than what you normally get, but I learned to appreciate them by the bottom of the pile; the Flat Iron Steak was tender and tasty, and the Prime Rib was everything you would hope it to be.

{Editor’s note: I’m going to have to temper my unqualified endorsement. My kid, Mother and I had several bad experiences there, so I scratched it off my dining list. Some of my readers say it is still good, so I may give it another shot. Caveat emptor.]

Motorcycles and matrimony

While we were eating there this weekend, we saw what appeared to be a wedding party in formal gear headed up to one of the three private dining rooms upstairs at the same time a dozen and a half motorcycles pulled in to fill up the patio with bikers and their passengers.

How to find the Gordonville Grill

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