Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Dining in the Silver Valley: Broken Wheel, Kellogg

The Broken Wheel was, well, broken for quite a while. Shortly after we moved to the Valley, we stopped in one day for breakfast and sat at a counter just inside the front door. The food, as I recall, was all right, but the decor was dark and uninviting, the service was somewhere between indifferent and gruff, and most of the place, from what I can remember, wasn't even being used. It didn't give off a great vibe, to say the least, and I wasn't surprised to see the restaurant go out of business. 

The building sat empty until last year, when it came under new ownership and opened in early 2022 following some serious renovations. We looked forward to trying it out after discovering that Tee Jay Larsen, a waitress whom we knew well from Sam's Restaurant just down the street in Kellogg, was involved with the reopening of Broken Wheel. She always took good care of us at Sam's, and now she's the manager at Broken Wheel.  

We've been there probably half a dozen times since the reopening. That little counter by the front door is still there, and right next to it you can see the cooks working away in the kitchen. 

On the other side of the room is a salad bar. And across from that is a lounge area with an adjoining game room. 

The bar in the lounge area is insanely long, running pretty much the length of the entire room.

Then there's the dining area, which is equally massive, with an abundance of tables and booths to choose from, and what looks to be a small stage or a karaoke spot in the far corner, in front of the fireplace. The TV on the wall is usually tuned to some kind of sporting event. During one of our visits, much to my delight, they were actually showing an American rugby match!

The food is typical diner fare, but the menu is extensive, with an impressive variety to pick from. Soups, salads, burgers, steaks, you name it. There's even a separate kids' menu.

If you're in the mood for an adult beverage, you have lots of options there, too. They're putting that big old bar to good use. I heartily recommend their spin on the Tequila Sunrise, though it looks like it's currently not on the menu. Hopefully it'll be back.

We usually come for breakfast, but today we made a stop for lunch. My kiddo got the chicken strips, just as she almost always does, both here and at Sam's. Tee Jay, at this point, just assumes that'll be her order. She knows us well. (Though, oddly, I'm not even sure she knows our names.)

My wife got a cheeseburger. I remember when the place reopened that there was talk of featuring top-tier Black Angus beef for all their burgers and steaks, and though I lack a sophisticated palate, the few burgers I've had during our visits here have been pretty tasty, I must admit. 

Me, I got a meatloaf panini, just because it sounded unusual, and a side of chili. I say "side," but I opted for the bowl over the cup, and it was massive -- like so many things at Broken Wheel are. I think even Tee Jay was surprised by the size of the darn thing.


And boy, was the chili good. Thick and flavorful, with a nice mix of seasonings and generously sized chunks of onion that added a hearty texture. A lot of chilis I've tasted over the years have tended toward being too tomato-heavy and tangy. Not this one. This was a full-flavored, stick-to-your-ribs kind of soup. It was by far my favorite part of the meal.

I know the kiddo likes the fries at Broken Wheel. I do, too. They're basically thin-cut wedges that retain their satisfyingly potato-ish texture inside a slightly crispy exterior. 

Oh, and they have hush puppies, too. The kiddo got some with her chicken strips. I love hush puppies, and I'm not aware of any other restaurant in the Valley that even offers them. 

Our total for our three meals, plus a milk, a coffee, and an iced tea, was $62, inclusive of tip. And that's for very healthy portions of food. I had to take more than half of that bowl of chili home -- but it sure heated up well for an evening snack.

This is only my second restaurant review, I'm already I'm acutely aware of the prices I'm sharing with my readers. It makes me realize that while there are a lot of places to dine in the Valley, there's not a lot of money to go around for many of the folks who live here. This is a fairly poor part of the state. As such, I imagine a lot of our local restaurants rely on tourists to get by. We certainly do what we can to support the local establishments, but even we're trying to cut corners. So if you had to pick a few eateries to visit with not a lot of funds to go around, I'd put Broken Wheel up there among your best options -- along with Sam's, Snake Pit, Hilltop, Muchachos Tacos, Casa de Oro, City Limits, and Blackboard Cafe, all of which I'm sure I'll eventually review here. 

And if you happen to pop in at Broken Wheel, tell Tee Jay I said hi, even if she probably has no idea who I am, other than the guy whose kid loves chicken strips.   

No comments:

Post a Comment