It wasn't enough that retired Air Force couple Joe and Stephanie Schmitt were busy serving up shaved ice treats from their Kona Ice Trucks at Gateway Grizzlies games, school sporting events and fundraisers.
They decided to expand and open a restaurant and bar in Smithton, taking over the lease from the American Legion in town. They sell White Cottage ice cream as well, from a sky-blue, thatched- roof outdoor stand on the property. It's next to the outdoor eating area and steps from the sand volleyball courts.
Schmitty's Bar & Grill opened the bar in April, with the restaurant following in mid-May. But not before a lot of work was done, said Stephanie, 42.
"The American Legion gave us free rein to improve the place," she said, sitting in the lounge area. "We put in new floors, bathrooms, painted the walls, added booth seating in the dining room, put up outdoor lights, converted the front of the other building into an ice cream shop, updated the kitchen."
Customers can expect food made from scratch for under $10, she said. And the couple want people to come and stay for a while.
"People don't just come here to eat and go home," said Joe, 50. "They come and sit outside, have an evening out and socialize with neighbors and friends."
Making them linger are live music (classic rock on most Friday nights), well-attended Wednesday/Thursday night volleyball games (with a tournament every Sunday) and lots of outdoor seating. Don't forget to give the giant Jenga game a try.
Stephanie said they are particularly proud of the beer-battered and cornmeal-crusted fish for $7.99.Choose from cod, tilapia or catfish with a mound of fries and tartar sauce. It's also the daily special on Friday.
Other daily specials -- as well as on the regular menu -- include the Triple-Choice Chicken Wrap ($7.49) on Tuesdays that lets you choose grilled, blackened or lightly breaded chicken breast tenders wrapped in a flour tortilla with a chili mayo, barbecue sauce or ranch dressing. Pick from sides that range from sauteed broccoli and homemade potato chips to a small house salad and fresh fruit medley.
Joe, whose parents own Wood Bakery in O'Fallon, said the restaurant offers classic American food, from Build-A-Burger and Have-It-Your-Way Chicken Sandwich to BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and a Club Sandwich. All are $6.99 and include a side.
Don't forget the Brat of the Week: Locally made bratwurst grilled and served on a toasted bun with whole-grain mustard. If one is enough with a side ($5.99), good for you. But, if you have a heartier appetite, you can get two for $7.99 with a side, or two brats all by themselves for $6.99.
On the menu, you'll also find three big salads for $6.99/$7.99. Add grilled chicken for $1.50.
A tall stack of beer-battered onion rings is $4.99.
The Schmitts want families and kids to stop by. If your youngster comes by after a youth sports game in uniform, he gets a free ice cream cone.
Schmitty's Bar & Grill
102 N, Main St., Smithton
Bar hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays and Sundays; to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Ice cream stand: 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.daily; to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Restaurant: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily; 2 to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Farmers market: 9 a.m. Saturdays with local vendors selling fruits and vegetables
Handicapped accessible: Yes, with a ramp near the rear parking lot next to the outdoor eating area.