Flatland Rocks in Germantown has become known as a music venue and party place that attracts people from miles around.
Now it's also a restaurant that serves pizza, salads, appetizers, burgers and sandwiches.
"It's a little more than bar food," said co-owner Norm Droll, 46, of Mascoutah. "We actually have a trained chef. He went to the Culinary Institute of America in New York. He's worked at several country clubs in the area."
Perhaps most surprisingly, chef Dave Alves has won over crowds with his housemade cheesecake. He whips up a different flavor each day.
Other customer favorites include jumbo stuffed mushrooms, nachos supreme and hot wings by the pound.
"We make our own pizzas here," Norm said. "All the meats are fresh. For our kabobs and quesadillas, we cut our own sirloin, pork tenderloin and white-meat chicken."
Flatland Rocks Bar replaced the Red Deuce, where Norm was lighting and sound manager. Before that, he worked in electronics maintenance for Motomart.
Norm learned the dos and don'ts of operating bars and restaurants through his part-time job.
"I have owned a sound and lighting company for 29 years," he said. "I would do sound and lighting for bands on weekends."
After the Red Deuce closed, Norm and doorman Kyle Fuehne formed a partnership. The name Flatland Rocks came from its location amid farm fields and emphasis on live music.
The giant back room has a cathedral ceiling with exposed beams, knotty-pine walls, a 92-foot-long wraparound bar, a stage with professional lighting and sound, a large dance floor, three 65-inch TV sets, high-top tables and a wall of windows overlooking a deck and volleyball court.
"It's a good place to come out and listen to live music and drink some creative cocktails," said bartender Charlie Simms, 26, of Carlyle. "There's not many drinks we can't make here."
That day, Charlie was manning the second bar in a game room that includes pool, darts and foosball.
Shelves display an extensive selection of beer, spirits and liqueurs, as well as Sutter Home wines.
"We have a lot of things nobody else has, like Absinthe," Simms said. "It's a high-proof herbal (spirit) from France. It was outlawed after prohibition. It was supposed to be hallucinogenic."
Flatland Rocks Bar became Flatland Rocks Bar & Grill in November. The new dining area is separate from the music venue and game room, allowing people to sit down and relax.
Norm and Kyle see it as a place where parents can bring children and eat for a reasonable price. Kids menu items range from mac and cheese to mini corn dogs.
"You walk up to a window, put your order in and pick it up," Norm said. "We've got a girl who buses tables and refills drink orders."
Flatland Rocks will be open New Year's Day with live bands all day. The kitchen will serve food from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Simms recommends the Sirloin Philly, his favorite item on the menu.
"It's a big sandwich," he said. "It's filling. It's fresh, marinated steak with peppers, onions and mozzarella. It's always juicy, and it tastes incredible."
At a glance
What: Flatland Rocks Bar & Grill
Where: 1311 Lakepark Drive in Germantown
Kitchen hours: 3 to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays
Seating: About 60
Information: Call 618-523-4167 or visit flatlandrocks.com
On the menu
Jumbo Mushrooms -- Hand-stuffed with seasoned cream cheese, lightly breaded and fried to a golden brown, $7.50
Nachos Supreme -- Corn tortilla chips smothered in chili, cheese, lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, sour cream and salsa, $6.50
Flatland Burger -- Hand-pattied half-pound burger on a potato roll with lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion, $4 (add cheese and bacon for $1.25)
Sirloin Philly -- Six-ounce sirloin sauteed with onions, mushrooms and green peppers and topped with mozzarella on a hoagie, $6.50
Quesadilla -- Grilled, 12-inch tortilla stuffed with beef or chicken and topped with Cheddar cheese, $5.50