Free Wifi: Unknown
Wise Guys is pretty new to the Joplin restaurant scene. It’s also inconspicuously located on 7th street past the major restaurant scene and before the college intersection. I had been eyeing this place for a couple weeks now. It has the all the buzz words to get my attention: “Italian + comfort + food”. I’m happy to report that it did not disappoint.
My biggest complaint would be that I couldn’t get the food into my mouth easily enough. The combination of a black plastic fork and fettuccine pasta slippery with Alfredo sauce made for a difficult time getting the food to my mouth.
When you walk into this place, it has a very cafeteria-like feel. It’s very white and sparsely decorated with mobster style posters (they’re framed, so it’s okay). The man working at the front counter couldn’t be more welcoming.
Here’s where it gets interesting. When I visited, which has admittedly been only once, I noticed a dynamic that has to be the norm. So, there are three men working here. You’ve got the guy running the counter, a younger man. He’s maybe in his late 20’s or early 30’s. Then you’ve got a man working in the back, cooking. He’s a generation older than the man at the counter and I don’t think they’re related.
So that leaves the last guy. Quick but important side story: having very recently visited Chicago, I was captivated by the existence of very well dressed baby boomer restaurant managers. It’s like: I can’t imagine living in a city where they could have an unknown quantity of restaurants that are busy enough to staff not one, but a crew of these guys. It was so refreshing to know (based on the traffic in the restaurant and the quality of their suits) that men who are good at their job still had a place in the economy of Chicago.
Okay, back to Missouri. So the last guy that worked here was a man that had to be pushing 70. He never said a word, he just stood there. He moved about in front of the counter, occasionally standing near the door or the cutlery stand. As I waited to place my order, I stole a glance in his direction only to be met with a rather professional and unfriendly face. This man was the overseer. He watched everything like a hawk. I found it to be oppressive, but maybe that’s because he reminded me of someone.
As I was eating and reading, I kid you not, the Missouri SWAT team showed up for lunch. I’m talking decked out, full on gear. Guns? Yep. They had HUGE handguns, I know very little about guns, but enough to know it was the size of a Desert Eagle. Unmarked White Van? Check! Uniforms? Oh yeah. They had on a camo that I didn’t recognize and patches that didn’t read SWAT Team, but implied they were some sort of task force with the State of Missouri.
Fettuccine Alfredo – $6.85
The portion size was great. I can safely say the sauce was not from a jar. The sauce didn’t really fit within the spectrum of Alfredo sauces in town. You’ve got a semi-cheesy Olive Garden style, a thinner Johnny Carinos, and then at the absolute bottom of the Joplin barrel is King Palace. It was an abomination. I hesitate to say anything negative, but truth be told it could stand to have a bit more flavor. I did need to add some salt and I wish there would have been a bit more Parmesan in the sauce.
I added chicken to the meal and that was the part I least enjoyed. It was sliced really thin, which was a positive. Have you ever had sliced chicken breast that can’t maintain it’s structure? Like it’s really weak when you start to chew it? This was like that. Next time I will pass on topping the pasta with chicken.
Overall, it was pretty good! I will definitely be back soon to try the Chicago beef with au jus.