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The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


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The Office Offers Pleasant Dining with a Side of St. Charles History

Downtown St. Charles’ The Office’s building has served many purposes, with the most recent being a very satisfactory restaurant.
Tyler Moore
Outside of “The Office” in downtown St. Charles.

Abraham Lincoln has visited a restaurant in downtown St. Charles; what is now The Office Dining and Spirits, located on the Southeast corner of East Main Street and Second Avenue.

What is now used as a restaurant once was a law office, an opera house, a bank and more. The Office has a variety of dishes and seating arrangements including a patio with live music on Thursdays.

The building was originally built in 1849 and served three main purposes. 

According to the Illinois Digital Archive, in the 1850s-1860s, the first floor of the main building was a bank. On the second floor was Minard Hall, an opera house where entertainment and concerts were often held. The smaller office to the right of the main building was a law office owned by William and Alonzo Barry. During this time, many of the city’s important political and business meetings were held in this building. 

Before the Civil War started, Lincoln visited Barry’s office and a parade was held for him. Later, in the 1880s, this building was transformed into the first St. Charles Public Library until 1906, when it became St. Charles Office and Supply. The building was further renovated in 1965 to update downtown St. Charles’s shopping area. Most recently, the building’s use has been a restaurant called The Office that opened in 2011.

The Office has a peaceful yet relaxed atmosphere and was overall a really comfortable place to be. We sat in what was once the library and Barry’s office. It is a cozy room with a stone fireplace, and access to the patio can be found here as well. 

When we walked in, we were seated at a table in a section of our choice. The service we had was nothing but terrific. 

In the former library, there was also a painted mural of what the building originally looked like before the renovations, and on the upper part of the wall was a brief condensed timeline of the building’s history. Although the library was a very relaxed spot of the restaurant, a bit of the mood was ruined due to some very bright slot machines lining one of the walls in the library. Other than the library, there is seating in the main building on the first and second floors, and seating outside with a cozy patio space.

On this visit to The Office, we started with warm pretzels that were served with stone ground mustard and a cheddar cheese sauce. The pretzels had a nice and smooth glossy texture to them with salt sprinkled on top. The cheddar cheese was a dark yet thick and rich dipping sauce.  The pretzels were nice and soft, with a great taste. The cheddar cheese also added a nice boost of flavor to the pretzels. 

The Office’s steak sandwich served with a side of truffle fries. (Tyler Moore)

Their steak sandwiches are topped with caramelized onions, blue cheese, honey bourbon sauce, garlic aioli and arugula on a hoagie roll. The sandwich had a great consistency and was well cooked. The steak itself was somewhat bland, but the flavors of the onions, sauce and aioli made up for it. The hoagie roll brought the sandwich together. However, the sweet flavor of the honey bourbon sauce sometimes overpowered the other flavors of the dish. 

The Office’s cheeseburgers are made with Prime Angus Beef and smoked American cheese on an Artisan bun. Although the bun did not look that appealing, the rest of the burger looked wonderful. The cheese was perfectly melted with a smoky look to it. The burger was juicy and perfectly cooked to a nice requested temperature of medium. It had a lot of meaty flavor and the bun and smoked cheese added a lot of flavor to the meat. Along with the burger came the perfectly seasoned french fries, which had a perfect golden yellow texture to them. 

The kind and respectful waitress was very understanding and gave us time to decide on what we were going to order. Our food came surprisingly quickly with no problems. 

With its historical backdrop, The Office provides an excellent dining experience with great food and a generally comfortable atmosphere. Its location in downtown St. Charles makes it a great restaurant to visit for an enjoyable meal; I would definitely recommend going there.

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About the Contributors
Antonio De Leon, Staff Writer
Antonio is a staff writer for the Stargazer. He is a Sophomore and this is his first year on staff. Antonio engages in student journalism because he enjoys writing and informing others about what is happening in our community, and particularly likes to write reviews.
Tyler Moore, Editor In Chief
Tyler Moore is the editor-in-chief for the Stargazer. He is a senior at North, and this is his third year on the staff. Tyler engages in student journalism because it helps him engage in events at North and talk to new people.

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