For years we've talked about stopping by Carl's Bakery & Restaurant, 815 E. Camp Street in East Peoria. How could we resist, with the regal rooster perched in the parking lot? But time and time again when we drove by, we found the place closed.
Today we lucked into finding Carl's open. We stepped inside, which was a bit like stepping back in time. I'll bet things haven't changed much there in 40 years.
There were a few booths in the dining room, and a case of pastries along the back wall near the kitchen. There was also a counter which I'm sure used to host a row of stools, but now there's a booth in front of the counter.
At 10 a.m., we found about three tables of people enjoying coffee and reading the paper.
We took a seat along the wall, above which hung an old framed Daylight Donuts poster.
Our waitress, Edna, was a delight, joking with us throughout our visit. She also took care of the fairly steady stream of people who stopped in for the donuts.
Checking out the menu, I was surprised at how reasonable the prices were. All of the sandwiches except the tenderloin were under $4, many of them even under $3.
We both chose the two eggs with corned beef hash, served with a side of toast. While we waited, we shared an apple fritter that seemed very fresh, filled with apple and cinnamon goodness.
Right about the time we were expecting our food to arrive, there was word from the kitchen, where things seemed to be a little harried, that there was no corned beef hash. We were somewhat devastated by this, as we have corned beef hash pretty much every place that serves it. StfRon decided to sub ham and I went with bacon.
Our meals arrived a bit later with an apology, piping hot. StfRon found the ham to have some sweetness to it, and my two scrambled eggs must have come from the biggest egg laying chicken around.
The lady who brought our meals out stopped over at the next booth and bantered around with the couple who are apparently regulars, as she took their order.
In addition to the Daylight Donuts, Carl's is also home to Broaster chicken, and offers catering and special occasion cakes. They are closed Sunday and Mondays, and serve breakfast and lunch the rest of the week.
On our way out, the lady from the kitchen again apologized for our wait, and said, "Next time we'll have corned beef hash...maybe!" with a wry grin.