MacTroll and I had a subdued date night last night. I just couldn't get up the drive to go see Thor, so we decided we'd try Destihl, the new restaurant downtown. We walked in at 5:45 p.m. and the three women at the hostess desk looked at us like they were in trouble.
I indicated that we had two, and they looked down at their table board and replied, "I think we still have a couple of seats back in this area" to one another. It was strange, because to the right the tables were half empty. I figured they must have had a lot of reservations coming in at 6. Instead, we were taken into a very crowded bar area to the left where a large party of 20 had numerous tall tables pushed together. There was still plenty of actual seating at the bar, but we got a table for four in the back corner overlooking "the giant hole where that building used to be downtown."
I had looked at the menu before I left, so I knew there wasn't too much that I could eat. MacTroll ordered one of their beers, the large baked pretzel appetizer and then a pizza. I ordered a $4.95 strawberry and goat cheese salad minus the candied cashews with the dressing on the side. I knew for $4.95 the goat cheese was going to be minimal, and it was just three nickel-sized dabs.
Being that I eat spinach salad with fruit for one meal every day lately, I can't really tell you anything about the food. MacTroll was discouraged that the pretzels were obviously from a package and weren't baked by the restaurant. He was also discouraged by the two dipping sauces which sounded good on paper didn't really translate well in reality.
What I can tell you is that by 6:30 p.m. we noticed a family with an older child were totally eyeing our table because it was standing room only in the bar. Then, while we were waiting for our check a gentleman came over and asked if we could go and find him on the other side of the bar when we were ready to leave because he had a friend in a wheelchair that needed a lower table. I explained that I thought the family had been waiting a while and he'd need to go work it out with them... and seriously, dude, if you want a table in that crowd, get your ass over and stake one out like the family did. You have to do the work.
But as I'm signing the ticket, MacTroll is looking around the bar area shaking his head. "It was fine. But it's not that good. It's definitely not worth waiting in line for."
"But it's new!"
And Champaign doesn't get new downtown very often.
But there ya go. Nothing special. A brew pub. I think we prefer the Esquire.