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Grotto cafe is known for its stuffed grilled cheese sandwich

By Renae B. Vander Schaaf
agripen@live.com

Date Modified: 10/16/2012 2:12 PM

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Rockin' Grotto Cafe

301 N Broadway, West Bend, Iowa

Telephone: (515) 887-3591.

Monday-Friday: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Friday — 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Stuffed Grilled Cheese Sandwich: $4.50; hutch dog $4.50; soft and fried tacos, $3.50; and ice cream, hard serve

WEST BEND, Iowa — Guests often enter the door at the Rockin' Grotto Cafe in a thoughtful mood after strolling through the nine grottos at the Grotto of the Redemption.

They aren't quite ready to leave. It's natural just to walk into the cafe on the grounds.

Under new management since April 2, 2012, Robert and Robin Hutchison took over management of the restaurant on April 2. They have fulfilled their dream to own and operate a food establishment.

The Hutchison's chose a 1950s-era theme when they redecorated the cafe. The theme is reiterated in a menu that features burgers and fries and ice cream; and the wall decor with LP records and Coca Cola memorabilia. Assistant manager Katie Heidner often wears a poodle skirt to augment the theme.

Ben — Robert and Robin's son — dresses as a soda jerk with a white apron and white button down shirt, Bow tie, black jeans. His outfit is topped off with a traditional soda jerk hat. Nephews Antonio and Martin Rodriguez dress in white T-shirts and blue jeans.

The food is ordered and paid for at the counter. A smiling Elvis gives his approval on the burger and fries. The cafe's specialties include the Hutch Dog and Stuffed Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Vintage 45 rpm records are given to customers as the order marker.

The Hutch Dog is a quarter pound hot dog, covered with sloppy joe meat, nacho cheese and diced onions. A mini Hutch Dog is also available. The Stuffed Grilled Cheese Sandwich has a layer of shredded Colby Jack cheese. Customers have a choice of taco meat, sloppy joe or ham. Another layer of shredded cheese is added before the sandwich is grilled.

As the cafe has expanded its hours, pizza has been added to its Friday, Saturday and Sunday menu. Made from scratch, anything from one topping to specialty pizzas can be ordered.

A big hit this summer was the frozen lemonade, said Heidner. Lemonade, ice and lemons are all blended together making it similar to a slushy. Strawberries are another flavor option.

No 1950's style restaurant would be complete without cones, malts and shakes. Rockin' Grotto Cafe features Kemp's hard serve ice cream. Vanilla, chocolate, cookie dough, butter pecan, toasted almond fudge, and rainbow sherbet are always available. Flavors that have special appeal to kids such as monster cookies and cotton candy ice cream are served at different times.

Customers from all over the United States and the world have complimented them on the food and peaceful atmosphere at the Rockin' Grotto Cafe.