Metro-East Living

‘Everybody knows everybody’ restaurant treats you like family

Valbo's Restaurant in Germantown

Valbo’s restaurant in Germantown, IL, in southern Illinois near St. Louis, MO., has been open more than 40 years. Current owners include the granddaughter of Valerie and Bob Kuhl, for which it is named.
Up Next
Valbo’s restaurant in Germantown, IL, in southern Illinois near St. Louis, MO., has been open more than 40 years. Current owners include the granddaughter of Valerie and Bob Kuhl, for which it is named.

Valbo’s Restaurant is the kind of small-town eatery where a known customer’s iced tea is waiting for him on the bar top before his rear hits the seat.

That’s just fine with Raquel Anderson, 42, one of the owners of Valbo’s.

The restaurant started about 40 years ago, when Raquel was a tot. Her grandparents — Valerie and Bob, hence the name, Valbo’s — opened it and her mom, Donna Lampe, was a waitress and came back after a stint away, as did Raquel’s aunt, Diane Gebke, known to all as “Fuzzy.”

Eight years ago, Raquel and her husband bought the family place from Diane, who at the time had tired of the business side of the business, Raquel said. But she came back, because “she missed the customers.”

When Raquel talks about the family restaurant, it’s all in terms of the people whom they serve.

“We’re good for knowing our regular customers, for treating people like family,” she said. “Kindness, good service, (it’s an) everybody knows everybody kind of business.”

“The type of people in this area are very trustworthy — they’ll tell your kids to sit down if they need to sit down,” she laughs.

Families celebrate at Valbo’s, she said, citing the school volleyball and basketball wins, as well as family events like bridal showers and birthdays.

Valbo’s buys most of its meats from Behrmann’s in Albers and has Ski and beer from Excel in nearby Breese. Eggs, of course, come from Germantown.

We’re good for knowing our regular customers, for treating people like family. Kindness, good service, (it’s an) everybody knows everybody kind of business.

Raquel Anderson, owner of Valbo’s Restaurant

The menu has changed since Grandma’s day, Raquel says.

“She didn’t have any pasta recipes,” but the restaurant still makes Valerie’s French, thousand island and ranch dressings. They’ve added a balsamic vinaigrette.

“People come in and buy our French and ranch by the quart,” Raquel said. “I’m thinking of bottling and selling that.”

Meals are made fresh to order, including fried chicken, which takes about 20 minutes.

Donna’s favorite meal on the menu is the chicken medallions for $8.99. It’s three chicken medallions marinated in balsamic vinaigrette and grilled, topped with sauteed spinach, red and yellow peppers and red onion. It’s served with homemade mashed potatoes, with the peels still on, and a choice of soup or salad.

Patty Watts is one of the employees not related to Raquel, but they’ve known one another since Raquel was a manager at the now-closed Lonestar Restaurant in O’Fallon. Patty quit Lonestar to join Raquel at Valbo’s, and is now pursuing a veterinarian technician education at Kaskaskia College while working. She has about a year to go.

“I’ll probably still work here — the money’s really good, and I love everybody,” she said.

Valbo’s

  • 307 Munster St., Germantown; 618-523-7226
  • https://www.facebook.com/valbosrestaurant/
  • Hours: Closed Mondays. 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; 4 a.m. to 3:59 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Overnight breakfast: Fridays and Saturdays
  • Menu: Family restaurant featuring fried chicken, pork chops, and steaks
  Comments