Best of the Quad Cities: Best Eats Print
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Wednesday, 13 February 2008 03:14

Best Restaurant Opened in 2007

1. Noodles & Company

2. Sonic Drive-In

3. Café Indigo


Noodles & Company Besides its being cited as 2007's best new restaurant, you know how I know that Noodles & Company is insanely popular? None of my friends have eaten there. But they've all tried to. Just yesterday, in fact, I asked two Reader employees whether they'd been to the pasta-based eatery (located at 5345 Elmore Avenue in Davenport), and they both said they had; they just didn't stay - on the evenings they tried to get in, all of Noodles & Company's tables were filled and then some. You could argue that the capacity clientele is just curious about restaurant that opened in December, but it's equally likely that they'd just had the food before. Offering pastas in Asian, Mediterranean, and American varieties (all of which can be customized with chicken, beef, shrimp, or organic tofu), soups, salads, potstickers, desserts, and beverages that include wine by the glass or bottle, the dine-in and carry-out eatery simply offers too many options for just one visit, although on the evening I stopped there, I certainly did my best. I ordered a small-sized Pad Thai, a small-sized Pesto Cavatappi, and a small-sized Wisconsin Mac & Cheese - ah, the things I do for this job ... - and all were incredibly tasty: comfort food you eat without guilt. On the evening I visited, the miserable weather was obviously keeping many people at home, and I commented to the cashier that it must have been a change of pace. "It's been really busy," she said with one of those happily exhausted smiles, "so this is very nice." It most certainly is.

- Mike Schulz


Best Mexican Food

1. Azteca

2. Los Agaves

3. Rudy's Tacos


Best Italian Food

1. Olive Garden

2. Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano

3. Trattoria Tiramisu


Best Asian Food

1. Exotic Thai

2. Hi Ho Mongolian Grill

3. Le Mekong


Best Sandwiches

1. Hungry Hobo

2. Subway

3. Jimmy John's

3. Arthur's Garden Deli


Best Vegetarian

1. Greatest Grains

2. Exotic Thai

3. Hi Ho Mongolian Grill


Best Pizza

1. Harris Pizza

2. Happy Joe's

3. Papa Murphy's

3. Uncle Bill's Pizza


Best Burger

1. Red Robin

2. Hardee's

3. Ruby Tuesday


Best Baked Goods

1. Olde Towne Bakery

2. Panera Bread

3. Hy-Vee


Olde Towne Bakery To all of the national-chain establishments that won Best of the Quad Cities recognition this year - all of the Wal-Marts and Olive Gardens and Toys"R"Us-es - I think I speak for the entire Reader staff when I offer a hearty congratulations. But having said that: Hooray for the locally run establishment that triumphed over the chain!!! Instead of the nationally recognized eatery that you might have expected to win this category, the victor was Moline's Olde Towne Bakery (located at 1824 Seventh Street), which has been serving baked goods - and good baked goods - since its beginnings as Jackson's Home Bakery in 1951. It's been Olde Towne since 1977, and you can find a history of the establishment at (, along with mouth-watering photos from its wide selection of custom-designed wedding and birthday cakes. Andy Vanhoe - who, since February last year, has co-owned the store with wife Christine - says that cakes are "our main business," and that Olde Towne and its staff of 14 can create a cake to match just about any design given to them, including many unimagined more than a half-century ago. ("Hannah Montana and Transformers are especially popular now," he says.) Vanhoe adds that his store, which sees more than a few of its customers returning every single day, is also known for its "signature item" cookies, and I can personally attest to the deliciousness of both Olde Towne's cookies and its cake. And its doughnuts. "We also do doughnuts," says Vanhoe with a shrug and a smile. "They're expected of us."

- Mike Schulz


Best Desserts

1. Village Inn

2. Whitey's

3. Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano

3. Olde Towne Bakery


Best Coffee

1. Starbucks

2. Theo's Java Club

3. Panera Bread


Best Comfort Food

1. Iowa Machine Shed

2. Whitey's

3. Cracker Barrel


Friendliest and Most Attentive Service

1. Iowa Machine Shed

2. Cup A Jo

3. Granite City Food & Brewery


Best Farmers' Market

1. John O'Donnell Stadium parking lot

2. Trinity on John Deere Road

3. Trinity at Terrace Park campus

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