Metro-East Living

SIUE restaurant has homestyle cooking and scenic view

Fixins’ restaurant at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has two walls of windows that overlook campus and the surrounding countryside.
Fixins’ restaurant at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has two walls of windows that overlook campus and the surrounding countryside. tvizer@bnd.com

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has operated a sit-down restaurant for decades, but many people don’t realize it’s open to the public.

Fixins’ serves lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on the second floor of Morris University Center.

“It has a college atmosphere, and you can meet up with your friends, whether or not you’re in college,” said Student Personnel Manager Frank Fisher, 38, of Collinsville, who oversees the restaurant.

The university also serves cafeteria-style in the dining hall, but Fixins’ has a far superior view. Two walls of windows overlook campus and the surrounding countryside.

“The leaves are just now starting to turn,” said superviser Cindy Portell, 53, of Edwardsville. “It’s real pretty in the fall.”

Fixins’ used to be called “University Club.” Officials changed the name two years ago to emphasize the homestyle food. Servers wear T-shirts with a Mason-jar logo.

“Students love the chicken tenders and mashed potatoes and gravy,” Cindy said. “Friday is fish with homemade macaroni and cheese. We usually pack ’em in on that day, too.”

Cindy was referring to the buffet, which features wings on Mondays, pork cutlets on Tuesdays, chicken tenders on Wednesdays, steak on Thursdays or fried cod on Fridays ($8.49 with beverage).

Customers who want to relax and be served can order off the menu. Sandwiches and entrees come with “endless” fries and a soft drink ($6.99 to $9.99).

Also popular are salads and five kinds of sliders: cheeseburger, chicken tender, sauteed mushroom, battered fish and the recently added Nathan mini hot dog.

“We have two in-house bakers, so they make homemade desserts, everything from bundt cakes to fresh pies to brownies,” Frank said. “And we also have ice cream that we can serve with those.”

Customers can park in visitor lots on either side of Morris University Center. It costs 50 cents per half-hour.

Students love the chicken tenders and mashed potatoes and gravy. Friday is fish with homemade macaroni and cheese. We usually pack ’em in on that day, too.

Cindy Portell on student favorites

Kinesiology major Bryce Fehrholz eats at Fixins’ once a week. He likes table service and prefers food cooked to order over cafeteria style. He usually orders the Buffalo Chicken Wrap.

“There’s always a lot of chicken in it,” said Bryce, 20, of Auburn. “They never short you on it. But I get it with regular ranch dressing instead of avocado ranch. That’s just because I don’t care for avocados.”

Another regular at Fixins’ is biology professor Bill Retzlaff, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“I like it because I can drop in and out, and students in my classes are servers here, so I get to see them outside of class,” he said. “In fact, one of my students is the manager.”

Bill oversees a rooftop-gardening project on the terrace outside the restaurant. It eliminated outdoor seating, but biology students share their vegetables with the cooks.

On a recent Wednesday, the university’s payroll compliance manager, Denise Hunt, celebrated her 49th birthday at Fixins’.

“You don’t have to worry about getting trampled by the young kids downstairs (in the dining hall),” she joked. “You can come here and relax and read a book or spend time with your co-workers.”

At a glance

  • What: Fixins’ Restaurant
  • Where: Second floor of Morris University Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays
  • Seating: About 150
  • Parking: 50 cents per half-hour in visitor lots
  • Handicap-accessible: Yes
  • Carryouts: No
  • Information: Call 618-650-2465

On the menu

  • Chicken Fried Chicken: Generous portion of chicken breast filet, fried to a golden brown, topped with country gravy and served with endless fries, vegetable and soft drink, $8.75
  • Bayou Burger: 8-ounce, blackened ground-steak patty, topped with Swiss, Cheddar, provolone or pepper Jack, lettuce, tomato, red onions and pickles on a toasted wheat bun and served with endless fries, vegetable and soft drink, $9.99
  • Turkey Flatbread Sandwich: Warm flatbread with all-natural, smoked applewood turkey breast, bacon, tomato and bistro sauce, served with endless fries, vegetable and soft drink, $7.49
  • Harvest Salad: Crisp spring mix, Mediterranean feta cheese, sliced apples, praline pecans and dried cranberries with choice of dressing, $6.99
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