Metro-East Living

7 West pairs historic ambiance with ‘upscale bar food’

7 West Bar & Grill

7 West Bar & Grill serving food, spirits and spots to watch the game in Trenton
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7 West Bar & Grill serving food, spirits and spots to watch the game in Trenton

Travis Lewis has breathed new life into 7 West Bar & Grill in Trenton.

He bought the business and its well-preserved historic building two years ago with partner Gabe Morales. They built a kitchen, renovated bathrooms, installed new tables and booths and began selling 12 beers on tap, including craft brews from the region.

“We kind of made it into a sports bar,” said Travis, 38, of Smithton. “When we bought it, it had one TV. Now it has 10 TVs and two (high-definition) screens for when two big games are on. We have pool, dart and Foosball leagues.”

Travis, who serves as manager, is an Aviston native who also teaches P.E. and health at Ellis Elementary School in Belleville.

“Talk about bar rescue ... Travis did it,” said customer Karla Draper, 42, of Trenton. “He’s really done a good job. He’s made a lot of updates and just freshened it up.”

Gabe owns the popular El Ranchito Mexican restaurant in Fairmont City. He’s in charge of Fiesta Night on Wednesdays at 7 West. Customers can get three hard-shell or soft flour tortilla tacos for $1, as well as other Mexican specials.

The Trenton bar also serves appetizers, salads, burgers, other sandwiches, wings and housemade pizza.

“They have a very good kitchen here,” said Dan Hrabusicky, 61, of Trenton, a former restaurant owner. “They take their time on the few things they have. You don’t need a big menu to have good food.”

Some of the bartenders thought it was haunted in the basement. They’d hear noises and stuff. It’s an old building. But I never found any alcohol missing or anything.

Terry Klein on 7 West building

Travis calls the fare “upscale bar food at a reasonable price.” Sandwiches come on bread from Fazio’s on The Hill.

Particularly popular are marinated and breaded chicken wings and all-white-meat boneless wings, served with buffalo, barbecue, garlic Parmesan, honey hot or Thai chili sauce. They’re 60 cents each on Wednesdays.

“People love the 7 West Club,” said server Solana Jimerson, 24, of Breese. “It’s got turkey, ham, bacon, Swiss cheese and Cheddar cheese, and it’s huge. They put it on the grill, so it comes out warm. Everything on it is fresh, and our chips are awesome. They’re homemade.”

The bar already was named 7 West when Travis and Gabe bought it. The name comes from its address at 7 W. Broadway.

The 1870s storefront was built for Ginzel Mercantile. It later served as a furniture store, warehouse and several bars.

12 TV screens for sports

12 Beers on tap

“Some of the bartenders thought it was haunted in the basement,” said Terry Klein, 69, of Trenton, a regular customer and past owner. “They’d hear noises and stuff. It’s an old building. But I never found any alcohol missing or anything.”

Today, the main room has a 13-foot-high ceiling, hardwood floor, exposed-brick walls and Ponderosa pine woodwork, including railings around a mezzanine with additional seating.

A sealed-up arch used to connect the building with the one next door. Now there’s a chalkboard, where servers list specials and events.

“This place reminds me of what you’d see in New Orleans or on Beale Street (in Memphis) or in Soulard,” Travis said. “It’s got a lot of character and ambiance.”

At a glance

  • What: 7 West Bar & Grill
  • Where: 7 W. Broadway in Trenton
  • Hours: Noon to 2 p.m. Sundays, 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays and Tuesdays and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays
  • Handicap-accessible: No
  • Carryouts: Yes
  • Information: Call 618-224-7771 or visit the Facebook page

On the menu

  • 7 West Burger: Ground sirloin, choice of cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion or grilled onion, pickles and jalapenos on a toasted bun, served with homemade chips or fries ($7.95 for one pound or $6.45 for half-pound)
  • 7 West Wings: Ten jumbo breaded wings or boneless wings with choice of buffalo, barbecue, garlic Parmesan, honey hot or Thai chili sauce ($7.95)
  • 7 West Club: Turkey, ham, bacon, Swiss and Cheddar cheeses, lettuce, tomato and mayo on sourdough toast, served with homemade chips or fries ($6.95)
  • Fiesta Night Burrito: Large flour tortilla with marinated ground beef, refried beans, Chihuahua cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickled jalapenos and sour cream, Wednesdays only ($2.95 or $3.95 with specialty meat)
  • Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad: Crisp romaine lettuce tossed in Caesar dressing with grilled chicken breast, grated Parmesan, red onions and croutons ($6.95)
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