By Andy Schneider
Great food, beer, and cocktails are always in demand.
V.O.’s MMXV, the former Bent River Brewery at 500 Jefferson St. in downtown Burlington, seeks to add a rotating menu of tasty and unique items to the local restaurant scene.
The name is the initials of owners Tony and Angela VanOrder. The Roman numerals are the year of their marriage.
The VanOrders purchased the business last year from Becky Anderson of Burlington.
“We shot all kinds of names out there, and everybody was like, just make it about you guys,” said VanOrder.
“MMXV is just when Angela and I got married,” said Tony VanOrder.
The couple sought to offer a little bit of everything with varied tastes from all over the world.
V.O’s has overhauled the menu and is offering tasty and fresh new options made in-house.
There are a variety of freshly made smash burgers brimming with flavor and offered in as many patties as you can handle.
“We wanna turn downtown into a place where you can come get different stuff,” Tony VanOrder said.
VO’s also offers fish or pork belly tacos as well, to satisfy almost any palate.
“I do everything I can to not copy off of everybody,” he said.
“For the fish and chips, I use a 10-ounce beer-battered red snapper fillet.”
Additionally, there will be a rotating cast of beers on tap from craft breweries.
“We won’t know what they are until they bring it to us,” Tony VanOrder said.
When asked about the overall atmosphere, he said it is casual dining that is family oriented.
The restaurant has always been a spacious building. The building sat vacant for several years before it became Bent River.
There have been slight aesthetic changes to the restaurant. They are transitioning to a music-themed restaurant.
For better viewing, VanOrder said the center wall has been lowered in spots so that people sitting on the barside can view the bands.
“There will never be a cover,” VanOrder said very adamantly. VanOrder himself spent 24 years in the active and reserve military. Tony did several tours during conflicts like the Iraq War and Afghanistan.
He retired last year, and it was a natural transition point to taking over the restaurant. Angela VanOrder is a registered nurse of 23 years.
For the past 10 years, she has been the clinical director for the Department of Labor. The VanOrder children also work at the restaurant as waitresses and busboys.
“It’s a family operation,” Angela VanOrder said.
The couple owns Corked 101, a wine bar with charcuterie boards and flatbreads in Burlington.
They also own Corked Wine and Barrel, a wine and whiskey bar with food offerings in Fort Madison. Wines from Corked 101 will be available at V.O.’s. Tony VanOrder shared that the restaurant’s motto is “always forward.”
“Learning to push forward and not look back,” Tony said, was an important lesson.
What’s in a name? At V.O.’s, you can count on a friendly and relaxed dining experience.