As the weary days of December inch closer to Christmas, the Buds - equally weary from last minute preparations - were in search of a fast, easy lunch that would fit right in with their busy day.
A savvy co-worker mentioned Ali's Corner Cafe, located inside the McLure Hotel on Market Street in downtown Wheeling, so the Buds decided to head across the river and check it out.
Owner John Baker of Bridgeport, who opened Ali's Corner Cafe in the late summer, has worked in the restaurant business his entire life. Ali's offers hotel guests and other diners home-cooked style meals at reasonable prices. As soon as the Buds arrived, Ali's large menu variety was apparent on a white board listing several daily specials, including baked ziti and a BLT sandwich with fries. Their popular dinner specials include ribeye steaks, pasta, shrimp and meatloaf.
Chicken tender sandwich
Additional lunch specials on the menu featured a variety of sandwiches including grilled ham and cheese, chicken or egg salad, and a reuben, as well as chef and grilled chicken salads and meatloaf. Breakfast is served all day and includes options like steak and eggs, pancakes, French toast and biscuits and gravy. As if that's not enough to choose from, Ali's also offered half-pound black angus hamburgers and wings and tasty-sounding sides like potato skins and cheddar or hot pepper cheese balls.
Bud Em opted for the lunch special BLT with fries and a soda, which totaled just under $6. The sandwich was exactly what was expected: slices of crispy, smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo between slices of toasted white bread. It had been some time since Bud Em indulged in a BLT and this one really hit the spot. With tasty seasoned fries and dill pickle chips on the side, this meal proved to be not only tasty, but super affordable.
Bud Shaunna decided to order the chicken tender sandwich with fries for 5 bucks. Served plain on two slices of grilled bread, the chicken tenders had a flavorful breading. Bud Shaunna ordered ranch dressing on the side and added it to the bread to give the sandwich some extra zing. The fries were golden and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside - that's the best way to eat 'em! Well, that and dipped in the ranch dressing that just so happened to be available.... It was a filling meal for a really good price.
As there was a steady stream of patrons into the eatery during the visit, it's apparent that the Buds aren't the only ones interested in Ali's Corner Cafe. Swing by and check it out the next time you're out and about in downtown Wheeling!
Be sure to tune in next week as the Buds begin their annual Top Ten list of culinary greatness.
The Buds may be reached at tastebuds@ timesleaderonline.com.