When you think of the Blues Brothers, what’s the first thing that you think of? It might be Chicago, where the movie was filmed, or a Blues-type bar where the music makes the club itself well known. What if I told you, there’s a restaurant right inside of Edwardsville called Gulf Shores Bar and Grill that not only has amazing likenesses of both of the Blues Brothers, but that they actually encourage you to take pictures with them? I myself was pleasantly surprised upon first seeing the restaurant, as both Blues Brothers grace the front as quite realistic statues situated out front, both in quite relaxed positions with a spot in the middle reserved for anyone that loves selfies or is looking for a good “photo-op” to send back to the family.
The Blues Brothers isn’t the only thing that is surprisingly amazing about this restaurant either. When you first walk in, you are greeted by multitudes of pictures that line the entryway showing support for both the amazing food and staff that act in unison. When you finish taking in the amazing show of support, you find yourself walking through a doorway and seeing a blackboard that covers an entire wall featuring specials for both food and drinks, all at very reasonable prices and a lovely salt water aquarium that seems to have a different fish on display every time you glance at it. It’s quite unexpected from what you would typically find in Edwardsville, and that is meant in the best possible way.
There was no wait whatsoever when I chanced upon this hidden gem with my dining partner and we found ourselves seated right next to a giant picture that was simply breathtaking. It seems as though every part of this restaurant has been covered in pictures and signs that make you feel like you are actually in the middle of downtown Louisiana! If the atmosphere doesn’t have you feeling that way, then the menu will.
Such a variety of items on a menu might be daunting to some, but for someone like me, it makes me want to return if only to try a few more dishes that just seem too good to be true. There is a variety of gumbo choices, “gator bites”, seafood and of course your typical burgers and fries for those that find themselves a bit scared to try new things. If you should find yourself in this position, feel free to ask your friendly waitress!
Our waitress, Marissa S., was very attentive, always checking on drink levels, offering a bit of the background on the restaurant and telling us whatever we needed to know concerning the menu. I finally decided on an Alfredo Pasta dish topped with lobster and Seafood blend, and my partner chose a crawfish gumbo appetizer and a Crab Stuffed Haddock as an entree. When the appetizer came, there was a side of crackers which we found ironic considering that the gumbo itself was so thick with premium ingredients that the crackers themselves wouldn’t have served a purpose. It was piping hot and simply delicious according to my companion.
The entrees were brought directly after the appetizer had been finished and the portions were generous to say the least. My Alfredo dish was so full of seafood and noodles that the divine sauce and melting cheese were barely peeking through, and the crab stuffed haddock was steaming and literally bursting with its own ingredients. Needless to say, I found myself needing a box, while my partner managed to muscle through the entire meal.
Marissa came back at least twice with offers of refills and boxes and waited patiently until everything had been finished before offering the check. This was a nice change from some of the previous places that I myself have visited where the check is brought along with the main course, which tends to lend an almost hurried air to a meal. The payment was handled quickly, and a bag was brought for my box along with a heart-felt thank you for visiting and hopes of a return in the near future.
It is my opinion that while good food can either make or break a restaurant’s reputation, there can typically be more to it than just the meal itself. If you find yourself at a restaurant where the food is truly the best you have ever tasted, but the staff themselves or the cleanliness of the establishment is a problem, you will more than likely never return. At Gulf Shores, this was not the case at all. The food was far better than expected, the portions were generous for the price, everything appeared to be extremely clean, and Marissa S. made our visit one to remember.
I actually have plans to go back in the near future with a group of friends and I am sure they will enjoy it as much as I did. If you find yourself in the Edwardsville area in the near future, and you would like to have a lunch that promises to be memorable, why not give this place a try? If you are in a rush, at least take advantage of the photo opportunity out front because it’s not every day you can tell your friends you were able to get a selfie with the Blues Brothers…
Author: Jessica Kirk-Gregory