I've headed out of McHenry and Johnsburg on Route 31 toward Richmond often, heading into the rural areas that include Glacial Park. But I haven't often veered off 31 in this area until recently, when I headed to Ringwood's Rusty Nail.
If you hang a left on Ringwood Road, it's just up on the right.
We headed in on a recent early Wednesday evening to see what the buzz was all about.
There were three of us and we were able to pick out a booth up the stairs from the bar. It's a great spot to look around in a pretty cool wood indoor dining area. It looks like they own the building next door, too, and have plans there.
The kids that were with me wanted coloring books, so they picked out a few while we ordered drinks, two lemonades and a Sam Adams.
I wasn't certain what I wanted to order until I heard a waitress taking an order at the next table over. Someone had picked out the chicken and ribs Wednesday special and it seemed too good to pass up.
You get a 1/2 slab of ribs, two pieces of broasted chicken, mixed vegetables, soup or salad and a potato side for $17. I picked the beef and vegetable soup and sweet potato fries. And it was a huge plate full of fries that came with it.
The also have Taco Tuesday deals, 1/2 off on dine in pizzas on Monday, a fish fry on Friday and a prime rib dinner special ($22 or $24) on Saturday that I've going to have to try.
The kids wanted both onion rings and fries, so we ordered an appetizer plate of onion rings ($5) to go with two kids meals. One picked out grilled cheese with fries while the other had a hot dog with fries ($4 apiece) and managed to down most of the onion rings too.
That was a theme to the meal, by the way, as the portions were huge.
Which brings me to the ribs, which were soaked in barbecue sauce, tender and absolutely delicious. It kind of made me wish I had ordered a full slab, but that would have probably been too much food.
As it was, I brought home the chicken, some of the veggies and a bunch of fries in a box that I heated up the next day for an excellent lunch.
The service was great, and friendly, and we got plenty to eat. The grilled cheese was on the higher end of grilled cheese rankings from area establishments, I was told.
And yet, they still wanted dessert at the end.
We had decided earlier that the hot fudge brownie with ice cream ($6) would likely be the choice, but they didn't have a lot of room left. So I pulled an audible.
Rather than going all out on the brownie, which I didn't have any room for, I asked if we could go off the regular menu and just get a couple small cups of the ice cream, one with the chocolate sauce and one without.
That staff was great about it and made two kids especially happy when they made it happen.
• The Mystery Diner is an employee at the Northwest Herald. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a story.
WHAT: Rusty Nail
WHERE: 4520 Ringwood Road, Ringwood
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday.
INFORMATION: Call 815-728-3017 or rustynailringwood.com