From left, Patty Rotermund, Jennifer Martin, Chef Kenny Jaskiewicz, Chelsea Jones, Jacinda Dunlap of Great Rivers Tap & Grill, and John Keller of the RBGA.
Great Rivers Tap & Grill has been chosen as the August 2021 RiverBend Growth Association Small Business of the Month.
Located at 3559-B College Ave., it is co-located with the Best Western Premier Hotel in Alton and has been in business now for five years.
“The meeting of America’s great rivers, connecting north, south, east, and west, influences the offerings on our menu,” said Jacinda Dunlap, director of sales and marketing. “Carrying a bounty of ingredients through these influences, from Louisiana’s uniquely American cuisine in the south to the European influences of the north, is what makes our confluence of cuisines and regional bounty into an exceptional dining experience.”
“Our goal is to provide locally sourced, made-from-scratch menu offerings in a comfortable and casual atmosphere,” Dunlap added. The menu also now goes through a regular review and updating at least annually, or more often if needed.
In 2016, the hotel went through a complete renovation launched by its new owner at that time, Sungmin Park. At that same time, Great Rivers Tap & Grill opened as a part of the new features and amenities available to visitors. As a part of the renovation and rebranding, the restaurant also debuted its new outdoor patio area.
The past year’s COVID-19 situation prompted a further introduction of new services as well.
“With this past year’s pandemic, we had to adapt to the service changes and needs of the times,” said Dunlap. “We began offering curbside pickup and offered family meals for takeout. This actually helped our business grow. The community started searching for something new and found us.”
“Several restaurant employees also began working in other departments of the hotel to stay employed,” Dunlap added.
Further trying to keep things always on the positive throughout the ever-fluid COVID-19 situation, Great Rivers Tap & Grill gave away free rolls of toilet paper with every food order at a time where retail suppliers were struggling to keep up with market demand.
“This was a way to have a little fun with all that was going on; however, we still took the pandemic situation seriously too. We adapted new and improved sanitary and cleanliness procedures, and they continue today,” Dunlap said.
“The pandemic further helped prove to us that we could move our furniture around in a hundred different ways,” she added.
Great Rivers Tap & Grill continues to rise to daily challenges, with staffing issues being more prominent right now. They are committed to prevail again, however, and are actively soliciting applications for kitchen staff, servers, and bartenders.
And when it comes to their menu, “Chef Kenny (Jaskiewicz) enjoys the opportunity to offer quality, local and originally sourced cuisine to the Riverbend region as much as possible,” said Dunlap. “In fact, this is how many partnerships and relationships have begun here, and flourished.”
“We continually support a mission based on a belief of community over competition, and partner with others whenever we can in events such as Taste of Downtown and Alton Restaurant Week,” Dunlap added. “We further enjoy opportunities to give back whenever we can through donations and sponsorships. We are happy to be part of the Alton community and enjoy watching our business grow.”
Being a part of the community is indeed important to Great Rivers Tap & Grill, as demonstrated by their ongoing service to organizations and events over the years.
They actively and continually donate to area nonprofits and charities, including Trinity’s Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Fighting for Autism, St. Mary’s School, Marquette Catholic High School, Alton High School, United Way, Dream Home Charities, Beverly Farm Foundation, Catholic Children’s Home, River Bend Head Start and Family Services, and still more.
Great Rivers Tap & Grill also proudly sponsors and partners with local and regional events and groups such as Bethalto Christmas Village, Legendary Mustang Sanctuary, Alton River Dragons Prospect League Baseball, as well as continually hosting a relay team and serving on the event planning committee for the American Cancer Society.
Regarding membership in the RiverBend Growth Association, Dunlap said, “We are proud members of the Growth Association, joining in order to take advantage of the growth and networking opportunities, and the marketing exposure, with our end results being increased relationships and increased business for the restaurant.”
“As an RBGA member, we benefit from networking and marketing opportunities such as Business After Hours, annual golf tournaments, networking lunches, and other events,” added Dunlap. “As a member, being able to host events and showcase our facilities also greatly benefits our business. We utilize our access to the RBGA Membership Directory often as well, bringing us peace of mind knowing that we can call on other reputable RBGA members when in need of a service or product.”
Open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., their menu offerings also include an extensive selection of non-alcoholic drinks, cocktails, and carefully selected local, craft, and domestic beers on tap.
For more information about Great Rivers Tap & Grill, to place an order for carryout and curbside pickup, call (618) 462-1220. Visit greatriverstapandgrill.com.
The RBGA’s Small Business of the Month Committee recognizes a different member business each month for its outstanding efforts and leadership in the community. To learn more about membership in the RiverBend Growth Association and its Small Business of the Month recognition, visit the RBGA website or call the Godfrey office.
The RiverBend Growth Association is the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organization for the 11 communities known as the River Bend. For more information about the Growth Association, visit www.growthassociation.com or call (618) 467-2280.
This article was prepared for the RiverBend Growth Association by Melissa Meske Publications, macmeske.com.