Duane and Darlene Stickrod of East Moline both are on diets. In three weeks' time, they've lost a combined 25 pounds. Their secret? Eating at the Quad-City USA Family Restaurant five nights a week, they say.

"They know we're on diets and they do everything they can to help us," said Darlene, who ordered her gravy on the side and substituted potatoes for cooked carrots during a recent meal at the Moline restaurant. "They go out of their way to make it like you want it."

The couple said the restaurant staff has even suggested lower-calorie and healthier dinner options to them. They have been coming to the restaurant for more than a decade. Besides the good food and helpful staff, the price also keeps the Stickrods coming back. They usually can eat there for about $17 combined.

"When you go out to eat every night, you have to be careful where you go because you don't want to spend $20 apiece," she said. "We come here and get a good, nutritious meal."

About 80 percent to 90 percent of the restaurant's customers are regulars such as the Stickrods, said Saki Paldazopoulos, co-owner of the establishment. Business has been pretty steady this year and has even improved over last year, he said.

Paldazopoulos attributes the upswing in customers to his menu, which is filled with many items that cost less than $7, even though they are served in hearty portions.

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"They love it," he said of the prices. "I think the amount of food we serve, the service and our prices, I think people are trying to get a better deal."

Rhoda Nache doesn't eat out much, but when she does, she comes to the Quad-City USA Family Restaurant. Her favorite dish is the Philly cheesesteak sandwich, which is $5.50 for the light version that comes with a cup of soup and $6.50 for the hearty one that is served with soup, salad and fries. While Nache can't put her finger on what exactly makes the Philly better at the Family Restaurant than at other places she's tried, the price is definitely a factor.

"I think it's good that they haven't raised their prices," she said. "They're still trying to keep things low. You get a lot for what you pay for."

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