One word to sum up the last five months of Ziggy’s Bar & Grill in Marseille is “challenge”.
A construction project to build an S-curve merging downtown Commercial and Broadway streets began in May. The works surrounded Ziggy’s with orange-striped cones and barricades, reducing restaurant traffic.
The restaurant posted several reminders on social media to announce that it is still open and to update the public on the fluid hours. Even so, the usual crowds did not come through the doors. Marseille leaders did what they could to support the owners. Mayor Jim Hollenbeck regularly encourages diners to visit Ziggy’s on his social media accounts, and the Illinois River Area Chamber of Commerce has designated October 5 as “Support Ziggy’s Bar & Grill Day.”
Unfortunately, the challenges persisted a day later. On October 6, construction work cut off power to the restaurant for several hours.
A friend from Marseille told me about the restaurant’s latest trials, so I decided it was time for my first visit. I arranged to meet her there for dinner…and wouldn’t you know, another roadblock popped up.
Shortly after we walked in, a waiter apologized that the restaurant was cash only that night because an MTCO fiber line had been cut, shutting down internet service for part of town. We weren’t about to let our cashless wallets get in the way of dinner plans. A 20-minute scavenger hunt for downtown ATMs finally found one that was unaffected by the outage.
Back at the restaurant, I did not regret the additional steps. Ziggy’s food is worth it.
We started with the Pick Three appetizer so we could sample fried spicy cauliflower (his favorite), mini tacos (my new favorite), and onion rings. My friend noted that she likes that Ziggy’s coats the cauliflower in Buffalo-style sauce before breading to seal in the spicy flavor. For dipping sauces, we have to recommend Ziggy’s sauce – a ranch sauce with a touch of chipotle. It went well with all of our starters.
The entrees menu features a variety of burgers, sandwiches, salads and wings. I ordered the pizza burger, which includes a spicy Italian sausage patty with marinara, mozzarella, and an extra option of pepperoni. The pizza burgers I’ve eaten in the past have used ground beef, but I found I prefer Italian sausage. The sandwich really tastes like pizza on a bun.
My friend ordered two tacos – one fish and one shrimp. These are both a tasty and affordable option sold a la carte for less than $4 each.
Ziggy’s offers indoor and outdoor dining, as well as takeout. Before my friend and I left, we both ordered take-out meals to bring home our spouses. She brought home the loaded nachos for her husband to snack on during Monday night football, and I brought home a breaded pork chop sandwich with tater tots. Both takeout orders traveled well and mine stayed warm for the 30 minute drive home.
Don’t let ongoing construction deter you from visiting. Main Street has plenty of parking on the three blocks between the restaurant and US 6, and the sidewalk remains open to pedestrians, so it’s a quick walk to the front door.
In light of Ziggy’s tough summer, I have a challenge for local diners. Drive to Marseille and give them a try, especially if you’re walking through the door for the first time like me.
• The Mystery Diner is an employee of Shaw Media. The identity of the diner is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits another restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not post a story.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
WHAT: Ziggy’s Bar & Grill
WHERE: 278 rue Main, Marseilles