We had a busy Saturday lately and felt like going out to eat without fighting typical Saturday pm crowds, so we decided to check out Cropicana. We were glad we did.
Cropicana is located at Whiskey Island Marina near Wendy Park, at the former location of the Sunset Grille, and is headed by Steve Schimoler, who also owns the outstanding Crop Bistro. We found the food to be a distinct improvement from Sunset Grille, and some dishes were even comparable to the food at Crop.
There are two lines at the establishment, one for food and the other for drinks, although drinks can be ordered with the food as well. Jonathan had a cheeseburger ($7) which was put on our tray immediately and can only be ordered well-done. It was fairly standard-issue, but a good familiar taste for kids. There are plenty of better options to be had for adults, though.
Sarah and I split two entrees, the chorizo black bean tacos ($7) and the cherry chipotle ribs ($14), which were St. Louis style.
The ribs were outstanding, nicely tender (but not completely falling apart), meaty and perfectly sauced. I took a bottle of hot sauce to the table, but didn’t need it. Smoky chipotle heat came through in every bit with just a hint of cherry as a counterpoint. The fries were typical (but not bad) and the slaw was vinegary, crisp and not overly saucy.
The tacos were also excellent. The combination of spicy (but not overly hot) chorizo and black beans made for a satisfying but not overly heavy filling, and there were plenty of crunchy vegetables to add freshness. We’d definitely order these again.
We also ordered two slices of watermelon at $1 each, which actually came two per order (so we had four). They were drizzled with what tasted like very high quality, sweet balsmic and garnished with chopped basil. The sweet and sour vinegar and basil perfectly counterpointed the watermelon. These were an ideal snack for a hot day.
Cropicana’s beer list isn’t bad in terms of fairly mainstream hot weather beers. I ordered some kind of draft wheat beer for myself (which was pretty good) and a Lienenkugel’s Shandy for Sarah (which was too sweet for her). Blue Moon would have been a better choice, but a couple draft craft beers would have been nice. They do have Great Lakes Dortmunder, though.
Dogs are also welcome at Cropicana (as they were at Sunset Grille) and we were a bit sad we didn’t bring our black lab Lulu. We were tired and didn’t feel like her getting anxious, but she would probably have been fine. We’ll definitely bring her next time.