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Ross' brings mountains to Bettendorf


Dispatch/Argus Photo By Gary Krambeck

Ross' Restaurant of Bettendorf, home of the Magic Mountain, is owned by Cynthia and Ron Freidhof. Opened in 1944, the restaurant has developed a ``mountainous'' menu.

Ross' Restaurant has long been known to have the only Magic Mountain in Bettendorf.

However, the restaurant that dates back to 1944 now offers an entire mountain range of sky-high specialties to fit every culinary taste.

``We have the Salmon Pattie Mountain, the Vegetarian Mountain and the Morning Mountain,'' said Cynthia Friedhof, owner and daughter of Harold Ross, founder of the restaurant. ``We also have the Volcano. We're working on a Mexican Mountain but we haven't got it down pat just yet.''

For the uninitiated, Ross' basic Magic Mountain, which was created by Cynthia's husband Ron Friedhof, starts off with grilled Texas toast covered with Ross' special hamburger meat, then is piled high with a choice of either French fries or hash browns and smothered with cheese sauce. A diner can request his or her mountain be capped with snow -- an option of chopped onion.

``We make our own salmon patties using Egg Beaters which we fry in vegetable oil,'' Ms. Friedhof said. ``The Vegetarian Mountain contains no meat and we top it with chopped green pepper, tomato and onion which has a lot of eye appeal. The morning mountain includes sausage and an egg. And the volcano has Ross' special chili on top.''

More popular than the Magic Mountain is Ross' hot spicy chili. ``We sell more than 100 gallons of chili a week.'' Ms. Friedhof said. ``We soak fresh pinto beans 24 hours before cooking them. Then the cooks wear gloves to chop a heap of special fresh cayenne peppers we get which are the hottest around. Our chili is really popular.''

Ross' has created an entire hot and spicy section to their all-American menu. In addition to the chili there are tacos, chili tacos, chilighetti (spaghetti topped with chili), chiliburgers, a chili cheese omelette and an enchilada plate.

The regular menu has Ross' award-winning hamburgers (the secret is in the quality of meat), an array of sandwiches, entree salads, chicken, seafood, beef and pork entrees. The extensive breakfast menu is available 24 hours.

``All of our food is homemade. We make real mashed potatoes, all of our dinner rolls are fresh-baked and all of our hamburger buns are fresh-baked from scratch here on the premises. Our hashbrowns are homemade and our cole slaw, which is made fresh daily, is extraordinary.''

``It is rare you find many family-owned restaurants who work this hard at making good homemade food anymore,'' she added. ``We're an endangered species.''

-- By Lisa Mohr (February 9, 1998)

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