Blue Iguana Will Sneak Into Pete’s Steakhouse Location
Chances are if you've spent any time in the area at all over the last 40+ years, you've had a meal at Sneaky Pete's in Le Claire. A family friendly rollicking steakhouse in the heart of downtown was home to salads from the bathtub, and clipping and hanging the tie of an unsuspecting overdressed patron. When it closed in 2018, the rumors of its future sizzled louder than the steaks ever did.
The hope then was that Craig Wagner, local businessman and owner of successful restaurants throughout the Quad Cities might be able to spin a little magic in the former 19th-century era Bard Hotel building on Cody Rd. After all, Wagner had success with LeClaire's Steventon's, and The Blue Iguana, which sits next door to Pete's. And most recently, the beautiful Tangled Wood restaurant in Bettendorf.
After three years of surveying, planning, meeting with city administration, a pandemic, and then completely re-tooling the possibilities, Le Claire's downtown will have a new destination! The expanded Blue Iguana, along with a second story deck with outdoor dining and entertainment venue will open up downtown visitors to both the views of the mighty Mississippi River, and historic Cody Rd.
Wagner told me his original plan was to keep the building that housed Sneaky Pete's, remodel it and bring it back to its original place of distinction on Cody. However, years of use, abuse and structural conditions made that goal impossible.
"We couldn't save the structure," Wagner told me as we walked through the building one last time, dodging caved-in portions of the ceiling. The wagon wheel light fixtures hung at cautionary angles amidst the ties from years and years of customers' visits.
"Every one of these ties is a story," He told me, aware that even though the building can't be saved, the memories made inside still hold value to the thousands who passed through its lobby. My tie is hanging in here somewhere, among the giant iron-wheeled open pit grill, and inlaid tile that spells out exactly where you are; "SNEAKY PETE'S." We put more photos of our visit below.
He says another iconic part of the Sneaky Pete's experience will find a place in the new design. "The stars and stripes painted on the building--we have to save that somehow."
As we carefully stepped through the sleepy Sneaky Pete's décor, I couldn't help but wonder about the next generations of visitors, and the memories they'll make when the new restaurant and outdoor space is finished. Live music, lively lunches, Tug Fest Fireworks seen from the decks. The beauty of the river slowly passing by a romantic dinner for two, or the shoppers stopping in for a warm up or cool down between stores.
The architect renderings contained here show the expanded Blue Iguana, with more seating, and upstairs space for dinners and meetings. The menu will expand beyond the traditional Mexican food as well. And a new fresco space for food service and entertainment. It should remind you of the outdoor accommodations at Bettendorf's Tangled Wood. All the while opening up Cody Rd. to views of the river. A nod to the past, and a look to the future from the vision of Craig Wagner. How perfectly Le Claire of him.