Bindy’s Bar & Grill is enough of an institution in Granite City that Bill Watson doesn’t worry about what’s missing from his business.
“Oh, a sign? Naw, haven’t had one for years. Everybody knows we’re here,” he said, standing outside the brown brick building that has housed Bindy’s for 16 years.
In business “30 years altogether,” the bar and grill sits at the back of a shopping center parking lot, next to Kmart on Nameoki Road.
A Granite City born and raised guy, Bill, now 62, left for a decade to work in food and beverage management in Vail, Colo., but couldn’t stay away.
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“I moved back here in 1980-81, wanted to open my own business,” he said. “At first, it was a bar and some food, then it turned into a lot of food and a lot of bar!” (Asked to explain the bar’s moniker, Bill kept it simple: His name combined with ex-wife’s name Cindy. You get it.)
Bill likes to think of his place sort of like an old-fashioned tavern: where regulars drop in for a beer or a drink, but families feel comfortable stopping by for dinner, too.
“We get a big dinner crowd,” he said. “We’re family-friendly during the day and evening.”
Then, he has his bar crowd. “It’s a different atmosphere.”
By the big U-shaped bar, there’s a wall of photos. Become a regular and somebody will snap a picture of you and put it there. The interior has dark-green walls, lots of wood paneling and trim and a two-story vaulted ceiling. A loft area above the bar has table and sofa seating and a big-screen TV that can be reserved. The loft has been used for civic and club meetings.
On the main floor, there is a dining area by the front windows with booths along the side, plus high-top tables in the middle. A closed-off section is reserved for video gaming. Besides free Wi-Fi, there are 15 big-screen TVs, including a monster 110-inch one over the bar.
A big kitchen in the back is kept hopping with a menu that includes big sellers — burgers, jumbo wings and an unlikely item, chicken noodle soup.
“We make 2,500 to 3,000 wings in a week,” Bill said, with varieties from hot and mild to teriyaki and garlic parmesan (10 wings, $7.50 to $7.75).
“And about 100 pounds of ground chuck for the burgers — half-pound burgers — in a week. None of these quarter-pounders. ... The Italian beef is big, too. We do about 30 pounds of Italian beef.”
Bindy’s Specialty Burger ($6.75) includes a scoop of sharp Cheddar cheese and bacon. An Italian Beef is $6.50 (add Provel for 25 cents more). Fries, salad or slaw come with all the burgers, wraps and sandwiches.
Thursday is steak night, when $11 gets you a 12-ounce rib-eye, salad and baked potato. Bill says he sells a lot of the fried Icelandic cod plates (with two sides for $8.50) on Fridays, too.
Anything on the menu, which includes a long list of appetizers, can be ordered until midnight.
And why is the chicken noodle soup so popular people take it home by the quart? (Or, get a bowl for $5; soup and salad combo is $5.50.)
“We make our own stock.”
Bill said that like a lot of metro-east businesses, he had some lean years during the recession, but things are doing better.
Granite City has provided loyal patrons that keep coming back.
“This town has been very good to me.”