One day this week StfRon and I decided to have lunch in Pekin. Not sure where to go, I asked my friend J. for some advice. He tossed out several suggestions, including Missy's Corner Café. He said he thought I would like it, and that they were known for their tenderloin, so we decided to check it out.
Arriving at the non-descript location at 17 N. 4th Street in Pekin during the lunch hour, I found the restaurant filled with a respectable crowd of people. We took a booth by the tall windows in the tidy main dining room, which looked to have been decorated maybe 15-20 years ago, accented with bright blue and white paint and wooden ceiling tiles.
Our waitress followed us to the booth and dropped off our menus and silverware, encased in plastic bags, and took our drink order. Another lady was back with the drinks almost immediately.
On a board along one wall, I saw the day's specials advertised as four pieces of fried chicken with two sides, chili mac with garlic toast or a fish sandwich. On our booth table, I noticed the napkin dispenser was emblazoned with an ad touting Missy's as home of the giant tenderloin, with a picture of a standard Central Illinois tenderloin in the background.
Opening the menu, I noticed the prices seemed quite reasonable. StfRon slapped his closed almost immediately. "What are you having?" I asked. "Giant tenderloin", he said. Giant. Hmm.
When the waitress arrived to take our order, StfRon asked if the Jr. tenderloin was a kids' portion. Ohhh nooo, she said, and did some gesturing to give us an idea of how big it was, saying that it would stick way out of the bun.
"I'll have that," I said, and ordered tater tots as my side. Hey, if I'm having a greasy lunch, I may as well go all the way! StfRon went with the junior tenderloin, too, and copied my tots order.
Our order did take a bit longer than your typical lunch stop to arrive, but not alarmingly long, and we're pretty sure the pounding we heard from the kitchen about five minutes before our meal arrived was our tenderloins being freshly pounded out.
And oh my, did these look good! The breading is hard to describe, but has a lot of texture to it, with lots of nooks and crannies. It looked like the most awesome chicken fried steak I had ever seen, and I almost wished for a side of sawmill gravy to top it with. The bun almost seemed like an afterthought, so I ditched it, and cut in to the tender pork. The breading was crispy and had a great flavor to it.
The photo of the tenderloin on the napkin dispenser is obviously some stock photo and does not do Missy's tenderloin justice.
These tenderloins were both accompanied with huge orders of tater tots. I ate about seven of them, and I swear there were still more than 14 left to take home, along with the other half of my tenderloin.
If I hadn't been pigging out a bit I could have made four meals out of that lunch, but as it is I will have dinner or lunch to look forward to later in the week.
Lunch for two with reasonably priced ($1.25) iced teas came to about $18 including tax.
Both ladies waiting tables in the dining room were friendly and efficient.
Another bonus for me was that they had a bucket o' hard candy at the cash register, but it was not filled with the standard red and white peppermint candies. These were butterscotch disks, one of my all-time favorites. And, to top it off, I don't think they were Brach's that have the cellophane wrappers with twisted ends. These were sealed flat at each end, and seemed to have even more butterscotchy goodness than Brach's.
We popped in to a side room on our way out, and found it filled with several electronic poker games.
Missy's Corner Café serves breakfast all day, and is open seven days a week until 2 p.m.
Next time I find myself on jury duty, I know where I'm headed for lunch!