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Eat Like a Gangster

St. Charles restaurant has colorful past

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    Eat Like a Gangster
    History buffs will want to make the trek to St. Charles to eat at a place one of the most notorious gangsters in history put up his feet.

    Rewind the clock to 1920s Chicago when consumption of alcohol was prohibited by law. Thirsty Prohibition-era patrons found solace in a little place along the Fox River.

    Back in 1927, Gladys Reitmayer and her husband owned Al Capone's Hideaway. They made beer in a hidden cellar behind the chicken coop, and pumped it to patrons through a copper tubing system that remains underground to this day.

    Thankfully, the folks at Al Capone's Hideaway & Steakhouse (35W337 Riverside Dr.) in St. Charles no longer depend on copper tubing and gangsters to serve patrons their suds, although it truly is a hideaway. In fact, finding this place is half the fun! Poorly-lit streets, hills, and a forest are all things you have to encounter to reach this unique restaurant.

    Now that your first leg of the adventure is done, your dining adventure begins. With the hostess dressed like a flapper and the servers suited up as "wise guys," you're sure to have a memorable experience. And what you'll experience is a lot of food!

    Be sure to start with the wonderful, chilled, jumbo shrimp cocktail. But unless you have a huge appetite, appetizers are optional. Large cuts of steak are the focus here, but unlike many steak houses, more than the the meat is included in the price of the entree. To my delight, soup (potato or onion), salad, rolls, and potato also accompanied the meal.

    My bottomless stomach yearned for the 32 oz porterhouse. It was a manly cut of tender beef topped with a wonderful herb butter that blanketed the entire plate.

    Not a steak lover? The lightly battered jumbo shrimp basket satisfies, and comes with all the fixings. Basic desserts range from dense white chocolate cheesecake to an insanely rich flourless chocolate cake.

    Dinner for two with drinks and tip came to about $115 -- an overall good value for the amount of food you receive.

    Blend retro atmosphere, quality food and a little adventure, and it's easy to see why Chicago's infamous gangster hid out at this gem along the river.

    To read more of Hungry Z's food reviews, log on to HungryZ.com and the NBC Chicago Street Team Blog.