Sunday, September 30, 2012


After a fun morning at the Children's Discovery Museum, we stopped by Destihl in Normal Illinois

Our overall rating was 4.38 (out of 5 stars). 

Here's how that breaks down: 

Family Friendly: 5 Stars

Menu: 4 Stars
This could have been higher, but they offered hot dogs on the kid's menu.  Ouch.

Taste of the Food: 4.5 Stars

Appearance of the Food: 4 Stars 
Nothing negative here, since we mainly ordered burgers and fries they didn't have a lot to work with.

Restrooms: 5 Stars 
Not that you should visit a restaurant because of it's bathroom, but this is the first 5 star rating we gave a bathroom.

Atmosphere: 4 Stars 

Service: 5 Stars
Our waiter was friendly and very on top of things.

Ethical/Sustainable: 3.5 Stars
There just wasn't a lot to go on here, other than a small blurb on their website.  It would have been nice to see a few more specifics (whether farms they source their food from, or how what they do to be sustainable.)

Pricing: Lunch entrees (which is when we visited) were about $8-$12 each.

Destihl was worth dropping by again the next time we're in the area.

DESTIHL Restaurant & Brew Works on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


When travelling home from Minnesota, our original dining plans fell through. The silver lining was finding a new great restaurant in Iowa City--Atlas

Our overall rating was 4.63 (out of 5 stars). 

Here's how that breaks down: 

Family Friendly: 5 Stars
As usual, one of the boys spilled a cup of water.  A random waiter stopped to clean it up and brought him a new water.  He cleaned it up with such a good attitude we can only assume little boys dump water on the floor every day.

Menu: 5 Stars

Taste of the Food: 5 Stars 
Sometimes I wish we could put '6 stars'.  It was really good food.

Appearance of the Food: 5 Stars 

Restrooms: 4 Stars 

Atmosphere: 4 Stars 

Service: 5 Stars
See Family Friendly above.  They were pretty busy the night we were there but we still had excellent service.

Ethical/Sustainable: 4 Stars
From their menu: "We use only hormone and antibiotic free meats and poultry. We proudly serve Loch Duart Scottish salmon, Go to to learn more. We use local and/or organic produce as the season permits from Organic greens, ZJ Farm, Wild Life Lakes Farm, Fae Ridge Farms, Echollective Farm and Dirty Face Creeks Farm."

Pricing: Main dinner entrees are $15 and up.  They also have entree salads and burritos that are in the $10 range.

The next time we're in Iowa City we'll just plan on going to Atlas from the start!

Atlas World Grill on Urbanspoon

Peace Coffee

On our way out of the Twin Cities recently we stopped by Peace Coffee.

Our overall rating was 4.5 Stars (out of 5 stars).

Here's how that breaks down:

Family Friendly: 5 Stars

Coffee: 5 Stars
The Nocturnal Brew and Ethopian Yirgacheffe were both excellent.

Food Options: 5 Stars
They get a lot of their food from other places, but it all looked good.  The couple of bagels we split were great.  (They were from Common Roots Cafe.)

Restrooms: 3 Stars

Atmosphere: 4 Stars

Ethical/Sustainable: 5 Stars
It was really great that Peace Coffee gave you the option to recycle or compost almost everything.  While there are a few things that you actually have to just throw away, they made it a point to have super-small garbage cans.  Even in the bathrooms, the paper towels went into a separate can to be composted!

Pricing: About what you'd expect for an upscale coffee shop.

The next time we're in the area we'll be swinging by Peace Coffee.

Peace Coffee on Urbanspoon

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Common Roots Cafe

What a great place to start our dining out ratings blog.  Common Roots Cafe was excellent.

Our overall rating was 4.5 Stars (out of 5 stars).

Here's how that breaks down:

Family Friendly: 5 Stars
Common Roots is a seat-yourself restaurant.  You order at the front and then find a seat.  Their staff bring your food out to you.  The day we were there the staff was excellent at accommodating us.  (We had 4 adults, 3 kids and 2 babies.)  They got us extra silverware and napkins, brought an extra plate two adults who were sharing a menu, and most importantly, didn't act perturbed that we brought a crowd of kids with us.

Menu: 4 Stars
Everything on the menu looked great.  The only knock was that at the time we went (over the lunch hour), the sandwich section of the menu was the only thing available to order.  The breakfast and entree sections looked amazing, we just wish we could have tried them too!

Taste of the Food: 5 Stars

Appearance of the Food: 4 Stars

Coffee: 5 Stars
They serve Peace Coffee.  It was great.

Restrooms: 3 Stars

Atmosphere: 4.5 Stars

Service: 5 Stars
Keeping in mind the type of restaurant that it was, the service was excellent.

Ethical/Sustainable: 5 Stars
This was the coolest part of Common Roots.  They can tell you what percent of what they serve is organic, local, and fair trade.  They had a huge garden behind their restaurant as well.  We've never seen another restaurant come close to this.

Pricing: Sandwiches were all about $10.  The entrees were $12-$15.

We'll definitely visit Common Roots Cafe the next time we visit the Twin Cities.

Common Roots Cafe on Urbanspoon