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A Taste of the Region: The Red Onion

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EQUALITY (WSIL) -- Diners travel from all across the country to eat at The Red Onion and News 3's Brooke Schlyer visited to find out why.

When stepping through the foyer there's a guest book with signatures from those who have traveled from states away like Florida, Alabama, and Minnesota.

Once inside, booths line each side of the wall with tables for more guests in between.

The walls are lined with old photos of local mines and manager Whitney Nugent says, many of them were donated from former coal mine workers.

"It's really a big business in this area and what keeps everybody going," she explains. "We just like to honor all of the coal miners."

On the opposite wall are large photos of other gems in our region including Cave-in-Rock, Stone Face and Garden of The Gods, which is only miles away.

Whitney's parents, Lee (Shorty) and Beth Nugent, bought the restaurant around five years ago. However, it's been in the community for more than 30 years.

Whitney says the restaurant is still serving up home-style cooking and dishes that patrons love but is adding new things to the menu as well.

As diners are seated, they're given a fresh loaf of bread with strawberry butter. That's something Brooke has never tried before and definitely wants to have more of.

Now, The Red Onion is known for its steaks and Brooke got to give a 12 oz ribeye a taste. It's grilled to perfection with a special seasoning and served with a baked potato and asparagus.

Up next, probably one of the biggest pork chops you'll ever see in your life.

It's a two-inch-thick piece of meat that's smoked and then finished on the grill. It's served with a home-made au jus and two dinner sides as well.

Last but certainly not least, were two "cute pies," or a personal-sized pie. Coconut cream and classic chocolate are the most popular flavors.

BROOKE'S PICKS: If you leave The Red Onion hungry, then you're DEFINITELY doing something wrong. You have to slather that homemade bread with the strawberry butter while you're waiting for your appetizer or main course. Both the steak and the pork chop were delicious but the pork chop had to be my favorite. Although it comes with the au jus for dipping, it's plenty tasty on its own. Pro-tip: Order a cutie pie right as you sit down because they often sell out.

Brooke Schlyer

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