Everyone seems to have a story about the old Horseshoe Restaurant & Lounge in Collinsville, which was renovated and reopened two years ago by a Pontoon Beach couple.
Now that couple and two of their friends have opened a second location in O’Fallon, where they hope people will create more good memories.
Jeanette Brown, a Collinsville regular, visited the new digs for the first time recently with 11 of her co-workers for a going-away party.
“It’s a great environment with great food and friendly people,” said Jeanette, 42, of Granite City, a human resources specialist for an assisted-living center. “It’s awesome.”
The restaurant serves appetizers, soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, steaks and other entrees.
Most menu items are carryovers from the old Horseshoe. Co-owners Bernie and Charleene Clardy obtained its legendary recipes for meatballs and Caesar salad dressing.
“(The dressing is) curry-based instead of anchovy-based,” said Bernie, 54. “I usually don’t like Caesar salad, but I like this one.”
The biggest seller is the Horseshoe, which is two slices of Texas toast, two quarter-pound Angus beef charbroiled burgers and shoestring fries, smothered in Monterey Jack cheese sauce.
We cut all our own steaks in-house and marinate them and put them on a charbroiler. The trimmings from the steaks we grind, and that goes into our hamburgers.
Charleene Clardy on steaks
Other customer favorites range from Italian Beef to Blackened Tilapia, Livers and Gizzards to Idaho Nachos made with waffle fries.
“All of our meals are fresh,” said Charleene, 44. “They’re never frozen. We cut all our own steaks in-house and marinate them and put them on a charbroiler. The trimmings from the steaks we grind, and that goes into our hamburgers.”
The new Horseshoe is on Talon Drive, near the intersection of U.S. 50 and Interstate 64. The building has housed several restaurants, most recently Major’s Sports Saloon.
The 6,400-square-foot space reminds Bernie of a hunting lodge with its exposed log beams, barnwood-like walls and massive stone fireplaces.
“The deck is huge,” said Jeannie McKenzie, 56, of Smithton, one of the Clardys’ partners. “There’s a sand volleyball court, two giant corn-hole games and two giant Jenga games. (The court) doubles as a playground when nobody’s playing volleyball.”
Bernie and Charleene renovated and reopened the Collinsville Horseshoe in 2014. Both have worked in the restaurant business for decades, and both served as district managers for Pizza Hut.
Jeannie and her husband, Mike, became Horseshoe regulars while renovating homes in Collinsville, where Mike grew up.
“I was familiar with the Horseshoe before Bernie and Charleene gave it the renovation it needed,” he said. “They did a great job.”
Mike, 52, has a manufacturing background. Jeannie is a property manager, rumba instructor and retired AT&T employee.
The Clardys and McKenzies decided to go into business together at the O’Fallon location. They opened July 13, despite a bad storm that left only partial power.
The restaurant has a full bar with 16 beer taps, including craft beers that rotate daily; a private party room, pool and dart leagues and 16 flat-screen TVs that broadcast sports, including all NFL games.
“It’s a family atmosphere,” Charleene said. “On any given day, you’ll find my daughters serving, and two of the bartenders used to babysit our kids.”
At a glance
- What: Horseshoe Restaurant & Lounge
- Where: 950 Talon Drive in O’Fallon
- Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (closed Labor Day)
- Seating: 170 people inside and 50 outside
- Handicap-accessible: Yes
- Carryouts: Yes
- Party room: Yes
- Information: Call 618-206-6418 or visit www.horseshoerestaurantandlounge.com or the Facebook page
On the menu
- Idaho Nachos — Nacho toppings on a bed of waffle-cut fries, $7.99 (add taco meat, chili or grilled chicken for $2)
- Horseshoe — Two slices of Texas toast, two quarter-pound Angus beef charbroiled burgers and shoestring fries topped with Monterey Jack cheese sauce ($8.49 for regular or $6.99 for pony)
- Chili Mac — Cavatappi pasta, housemade chili, Jack Cheddar cheese, onions, jalapenos and garlic bread ($7.99)
- Works Pizza — Pepperoni, house-ground hamburger, Italian sausage, ham, green peppers, red onion, mushrooms and black olives on thin crust ($10.99 for 12-inch or $13.99 for 16-inch)
- Ribeye — Hand-cut and trimmed ribeye steak served with house or Caesar salad, choice of potato and garlic bread (eight-ounce for $13.99 or 14-ounce for $19.99)