East Bank Saloon
727 SE Grand, 231-1659

I used to work in a restaurant in Iowa called the Wig 'n Pen. It was a wannabe English Pizza Pub, which makes absolutely no sense, and I don't really know why I'm telling you about it, other than it reminds me of the East Bank Saloon. The two restaurants have vastly different menus, but their striking similarity is that they require absolutely nothing of you, the customer.

You can roll into the EB wearing a muscle-tee or a suit. You can be old or young, a sports fan or a ballerina--here, everyone is equal. Gossip with a friend at one of the heavy wooden booths in the dining room. Chill at the bar, or make tavern chit-chat with some peeps at the long community tables in the smoking section.

When I rolled into the Saloon, I hadn't really planned on drinking, but the dim, old-town feel screamed "tall, frosty, amber brewski, my friend--you better have one!" The menu has some damn good food on it too, but it all needs beer.

(Don't worry though, if you're a snob. This isn't a total dive. It's about a 7 on the dive-o-meter. Three away from not being a dive, two above the "I guess I can take my parents there," rating, which is 5, of course.)

The specialties include the fish and chips, (light and delicious), the juicy steak sandwich (more steak than sandwich), and the two-pound bucket of clams For $9.75 (nice, aye). EB also has a meatloaf or veggie sandy, the extremely rare but extremely spectacular turkey Rueben, and a variety of seafood soups and regular old salads. The menu pleasantly allows for a vegetarian dining partner to have real food--not just salad--which is always nice for your mineral-deprived buddies.

The servers are wearing street clothes (remember that term from fifth grade gym class?), and they glide by effortlessly and unnoticed--my favorite kind, since I despise excessive server yapping.

Even for a complainer like myself, I have nothing bad to say about the East Bank. If you like low-maintenance, cheap food, no bullshit, and a breezy weekday atmosphere, then go. If you don't, then you're stupid.