Business is going swimmingly at State Street Market since Terri and Glenn “Beau” Beaubien took over the Alton restaurant last July.
Tucked among other culinary purveyors on hilly State Street, the restaurant still bears the name of a business that had been popular for serving lunch, but needed a fresh perspective.
“People didn’t want to see this place close,” said Beau, who has worked in food management.
Together, the Grafton couple have expanded the hours to include a Saturday breakfast/brunch menu and, on Monday and Thursday evenings, live acoustic music and a small-plate menu. Wine, craft beer, mimosas and Bloody Marys also are available. Beau and Terri, who previously had owned a restaurant in Herrin, do their share of cooking.
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“I thought the (Chicken Florentine) panini was outstanding,” said Mary Bitman, of St. Louis. It’s made with herb-roasted chicken breast, steamed spinach, provolone, caramelized red onions and garlic aioli. It is served with bread-and-butter pickles and seasoned kettle chips for $11.
Mary was lunching with Polly Keller, of St. Charles, Mo., who had to try the vegetarian Asparagus-Mushroom Soup, she said.
A friend of mine was here last month and raved about it. She wasn’t wrong!
Polly Keller on Asparagus-Mushroom Soup
“A friend of mine was here last month and raved about it,” she said. “She wasn’t wrong!”
The Beaubiens make it daily, it’s so popular, as well as offering another soup choice. A cup is $4.50 and a bowl $6.50. Terri said she uses vegetable stock in her soups that don’t have meat in them, which makes vegetarians very happy.
The couple said Saturday breakfast has turned into a big deal, with a big menu, including two gluten-free quiches, paninis with eggs, a breakfast flatbread, homemade porridge and biscuits and gravy.
When they use the word “small,” it refers to trendy tapas, or small plates of food served from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday and Thursday evenings, when there is live acoustic music. Choose from soup, street tacos and housemade Mac & Cheese to four kinds of sliders and five flatbread options.
Terri said the Thai-Peanut Flatbread ($9) is a favorite, with peanut sauce, cilantro, chicken, oranges, Napa cabbage, crispy noodles and sesame-ginger glaze.
Both have ties to Belleville. Terri’s dad, Jeff Ferguson, was a football coach at Belleville West High School in the late 1960s, before the family moved to Herrin. Beau grew up in Mascoutah, but graduated from Belleville East.
They hope to eventually move from Grafton to Alton. Terri smiled as she sat inside their cozy bistro with exposed brick walls and wide plank floors. “People have embraced us. The community has been wonderful.”
Even as the Mississippi River flooded nearby Broadway and invaded the restaurant’s basement, sloshing just a foot or two beneath the floorboards of the dining room, they were grateful for losing only three days of business. That, said Beau, was because there was no parking on the sloping street.
“We were here the whole time, manning a pump,” said Terri. It took six days to empty the basement. Meanwhile, they stacked wood furniture on top of metal tables, expecting the worst.
Down at the end of the block, work crews and volunteers erected giant cement blocks and sandbags in hopes of holding the waters back. Harkening back to the Great Flood of 1993 that inundated the city, they were prepared.
We were watching the wall go up and saw how hard people were working, tirelessly 24/7. ... If that wall would have gone ... It touched our hearts.
Terri Beaubien on battling the flood
“We were watching the wall go up and saw how hard people were working, tirelessly 24/7” to help protect the street, she said. “If that wall would have gone. ... It touched our hearts.”
While other businesses closer to the rising waters near Broadway weren’t so fortunate, their kitchen and dining room stayed dry.
“We thought we’d have water on the floor, but never got it,” said Terri.
By the end of the day Tuesday, all the flood barriers blocking State Street at Broadway had been removed.
The timing couldn’t be better. The fifth annual Alton Restaurant Week is Jan. 15-24. State Street Market and 18 other eateries in Alton, Grafton, Godfrey and Brighton will offer $10 lunch and $25 dinner specials. Bring in a receipt from one of the participating restaurants to the Alton Visitor Center and receive a free commemorative glass (while supplies last). For more information and a list of restaurants, go to www.altonrestaurantweek.com.
State Street Market
- Where: 208 State St., Alton
- What: Bistro-style cafe serving weekday lunch, Saturday breakfast/brunch and a small-plate menu two evenings a week with live music. The restaurant also can be rented out and staffed for special occasions.
- Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; 5-8 p.m. Monday and Thursday. Closed Sunday.
- Information: 618-462-8800, Facebook under the name State Street Market of Alton