Restaurant open. Restaurant closed.

“We’re open for inside dining!” “No, now today we’re dining outside.”

“Care for carry-out or drive-up?” Are you as confused as I am about the State of Illinois’ dining policy these days? I could write page after page about this issue. I support local businesses!

As a food columnist, I never know what the day will bring. I make plans to go to a restaurant, then poof the policy changes — closed or dining outside with limited seating only. In the past few months, I was able to dine alfresco or picking up carry-out at our local restaurants to write my column.

My sympathies go to our area restaurant owners and managers. I can’t imagine what they have been through or what the future holds for them. We need to support them as much as we can, or they will no longer exist.

There is a Facebook page that keeps current of restaurants open during this pandemic — Kankakee Area Restaurants Open For Business During the Government Shutdown. This is an informative and helpful page to get the latest information. The administrators do a great job keeping the page positive.

Not long ago, I met my brother, Jamie Moore, and his wife, Tanna, at Steam Hollow Brewing Company, Manteno, before they went home to Florida. Steam Hollow seemed the logical venue for all of us to meet. It offered plenty of room and distance between tables. Luckily, Steam Hollow offers some fantastic brew!

If you haven’t been to Steam Hollow, you’ll be amazed. It’s housed in a commercial complex off I-57 near the former K-Mart Distribution Center. I walked in and stood in amazement at the ambiance. Industrial hand-crafted metal signs adorn the wall. Reclaimed wood walls offer warmth to their open space inside the brewery. The soft glow from the Edison lights that stream above complete the ambiance. Several beer barrels are used as conversation tables, and long, high-top dark walnut tables are used for a larger group.

The back doors swing open during the summer, where guests can enjoy a variety of food truck offerings when available. (Please check out their Facebook page for availability.) Bags can be played anytime. And music! This is an excellent venue for live bands.

The beers are excellent. The Peach Pandemic is a great summer beer; a hint of sweet citrus lingers on the palette. The prickly pear was one of my favorites – very crisp! Dave stayed with the German pilsner called It’s A Pittie Rhapsody. If you like the beer they have cans and growlers available to take home.

One of their upcoming events — Octoberfest Celebration — grabbed my attention. The celebration will be noon Saturday, Sept. 19, The day starts with a bags tournament. Sign-ups begin at 2:30 p.m. with the tournament at 3 p.m. Cornhole fans, check out the Steam Hollow Wednesday Night Cornhole League.

Included in the festivities will be a stein-holding competition at 6 p.m. I don’t know what a stein-holding contest consists of, but I’ve been assured more information is coming soon.

Head brewer Blane White will have their “OctoberAlt” beer and Hefeweizen on tap for guests as well as their classic beers.

Steam Hollow’s 25-ounce beer steins will be available for purchase. The steins are $20 each and include the first pour and $6 refills all day.

What’s an OctoberFest without German music? They have it! Music will play all day with Paul and the Bavarians, dressed in festive attire, playing at 8 p.m.

Natalie White, owner and CEO, said that “MiaBella’s Wood Fired Pizza food truck and catering “will be serving all day until 9 p.m. or the dough runs out!”

“Mia Bella’s is one of our staple food vendors at the brewery, serving there since just after we opened. They have become part of the Steam Hollow family and very good friends,” she added.

Another event in September includes Fall Markets at Steam Hollow from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13. The Neighborhood Kitchen will be there serving food from 1 to 6 p.m. Neighborhood Kitchen has excellent comfort food, including gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

Check out their Facebook page for other super events, like Goat Yoga?

Steam Hollow Brewing Co. is located at 450 S. Spruce St., Unit C, Manteno.

Dress in your finest lederhosen and dirndls because it’s time to get your Oom-pah on!

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