I never noticed 9’s By The River because of its location. In fact, I only managed to locate the restaurant with Google Map. Interestingly, the restaurant is pretty active on its Facebook and to a lesser extent, its twitter. I had previewed the special of the day before heading down for a meal.
9’s By The River is just off southbound Gaetz before the Gaetz bridge. Angled parking stalls are available out front.
Inside, the atmosphere felt like a dive with a random assortment of tables and decor.
The restaurant itself was divided into 2 rooms with the farther side covered in vintage posters and high tables.
I sat on the side adjacent to the kitchen with the kitschy decor and diner-style television.
Against one wall was Bubba’s Corner (named after one of the owner’s son who passed away in an accident). It advertised the Bubba Burger Challenge: eat an 11-pound Bubba Burger in 90 minutes and it’s free. Moreover, you get a t-shirt and your photo on the wall. Failure to conquer the burger would result in $65. However, all proceeds go to the charity Child Find.
Researching further, I found an article in the Red Deer Advocate detailing the first attempt and resulting failure to conquer the burger. A youtube video of the inaugural event can be seen below.
I decided to go with their Today’s Special which was available from 11 AM to 2 PM. For my visit, the Today’s Special was a Grilled Bacon, Tomato, and Cheese Sandwich with Cream of Beef and Mushroom Soup. Pretty self-explanatory.
The Grilled Bacon, Tomato, and Cheese Sandwich arrived diagonally sliced with a big bowl of Cream of Beef and Mushroom Soup.
The exterior of the sandwich was crispy thanks to the cheese-encrusted surface. You can see the flakes of excess cheese extending from the sides. Between the toast was plenty of melted gooey cheese that complimented the bacon. I wish the bacon strips were more crispy, but they may have been dulled by the melted cheese. Luckily, the tomato slices provided the missing texture and delivered some lightness to the heavier ingredients. Although simple, I really enjoyed the sandwich as it was well-balanced.
The bowl of Cream of Beef and Mushroom Soup was deceiving as it appeared devoid of substance. Upon dipping my spoon in it, I found large chunks of irregular shaped beef and plenty of mushroom slices. Each component delivered its distinct flavor, especially the beef which packed plenty of beefy flavor.
I was quite surprised with how much I enjoyed the soup and the contrast between the homemade version at 9’s By The River and the canned ones (one amalgamated flavor) at the supermarket.
9’s By The River is a diner/dive that offers simple, homey meals. They are focused on making things in-house while offering a place to kick back and relax, akin to eating at a relative’s house. I felt very welcomed and even had the opportunity to speak to one of the owners who cooked in the back. He mentioned that they opened 3 years ago and have been doing an annual car show and street party every summer to give back to the community while raising awareness of their business. The 2014 party will be happening on Saturday, July 12th so make sure to head down. I will be planning a return trip for one of their BBQ nights in the near future.