Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Peoria's Chicago Grill on University Street closed a few weeks ago.

The former Country Diner in East Peoria is now open as El Mexicano.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I've been to the new Salt restaurant in Peoria Heights twice now for dinner. I tried to meet someone there for lunch once as well, but Salt is currently closed on Mondays.
The first time I ate there we stopped in on a whim on a Saturday night to see how busy it was and found the small restaurant booked, but were offered a seat at the bar to dine, which was fine with us.
The restaurant has a contemporary feel and is accented with salt block lights and salt block candle holders.
To start we had their Focaccia bread served with sea salt butter. The salt was distinctive and I found I preferred only a very small amount of butter.
When we placed our order, the bartender suggested we could split a salad, which came topped with cranberries and local Ropp curds along with candied walnuts. It was very good.
For my meal I ordered the pork Porchetta ($26), a slow roasted pork shoulder served with a sweet potato puree.
After tasting my husband's meal, salt crusted beef ($28), a filet cooked under a salt dough cap served with a root vegetable confit, I was envious. The beef was extremely tender and the root vegetables were incredible. You are not meant to eat the salt dough, but on a next visit my friend dared me to try it so I bit off a tiny chunk. Now that's what I call SALT! Makes for a delicious steak, though.
The bartender who served us was very knowledgeable about the menu and wine and was very attentive until the restaurant got a bit busier. He became distracted and though we had asked about desserts he soon dropped off our bill so we paid and figured we'd check it out another time.
On my second visit with friends, there was a mix up about who was serving our table and we ended up sitting for 15 minutes with no water or drink orders, but after that things were fine.
One friend ordered the vegetarian noodles which features noodles made of butternut squash and sweet potato. Another had the Amish chicken served with chicken mozzarella sausage. I sampled the sausage and it was delicious.
I went with the featured fish, a red fish served with asparagus and artichoke hearts garnished with capers and accompanied by a risotto. Again, the vegetables were incredible. I mused that if a chef could make vegetables taste as good as the ones I've tried at Salt, they could certainly serve only vegetables and strike it rich.
This time I did get to try dessert, the salted bacon brownie. Not only was it garnished with a thick slice of bacon, there were bits of bacon baked into the brownie batter and the whole thing was drizzled with caramel. Decadent.
I am looking forward to trying breakfast and lunch at Salt. A friend of mine said she had a salmon burger there that felt like it weighed two pounds and it was served with chips garnished with the salt of her choice.

Friday, December 16, 2011

O's Tacos -n- More

This week we headed to the former Lonny's Dairyland spot on Farmington Road for lunch at the newly opened O's Tacos -n- More.
When you walk in to the former dairy barn, there is a window to place your order straight ahead and a room of picnic table seating off to the left.
We placed our order for the two taco dinner, grilled chicken and had ours dressed with onion and cilantro instead of the tomato, lettuce and cheese. The soft corn tortilla tacos came with a side of mild green sauce and also a hot red sauce plus rice and beans for $6.50, and we added two drinks. While we waited we were given a small basket of chips and salsa to munch on.
The tacos were simple, but heaped with plenty of chicken and the staff was friendly.
The dining area could probably get a bit chilly in cold weather, but we were there on a 40 degree day and there were space heaters in the room and it was not uncomfortable.
There is also a drive up window for carry outs.

January, 2012 — O's Tacos has closed.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Vertucci's Chicago Style Eats in East Peoria closed early this month.
Los Jimadores has opened in the former Victor's restaurant spot in Washburn.
Juicy's Famous Steak and Lemonade on NE Adams in Peoria kicked off their grand opening over the past weekend.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Joe's Peoria

Last month we ate at Joe's Peoria for the first time. The sports bar is located along Pioneer Parkway in Peoria in the same strip mall as Taste of Thai.
Joe's features daily specials, a kid's menu and I have seen several coupons published in various local outlets.
For dinner I ordered their Buffalo chicken wrap ($6.95 with fries), billed as crispy chicken dipped in mild sauce. The chicken was indeed very crispy, and the wrap included shredded cheese and lettuce. The fries were the skin on variety that appeared to be hand cut.
My husband had a Reuben (also $6.95). He also added a side of chili ($2.95), which he was a big fan of.
We dined at the bar and hit a change in shift, but both bartenders took good care of us.
We've added Joe's to our list of places to stop for eats north of War Memorial.

Monday, December 05, 2011


I heard that Alpha Bravo Pub and Grill will open early next year in the former Harold's Hamburgers location in Sunnyland.
I believe that O's Tacos -n- More has opened on Farmington Road. I will have to head over there and check it out!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


This week I heard the news that Gilles Tap on Route 150 in Kickapoo has closed, hopefully only temporarily. Gilles has some great history, established as a tavern in 1933 at the end of Prohibition.
Some of my oddest, most interesting bar experiences have taken place in that little white bar with it's scuffed wooden floors.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Small Business Saturday dining

I was the lucky recipient of a Small Business Saturday $25 American Express gift card from FedEx, which we used towards our dinner at Basta O'Neill's in Washington on Small Business Saturday.
I and a friend of ours were both tempted to order the special, walnut and pecan crusted tilapia served with vegetable risotto. Accompanied by crusty bread and salad, the meal was very good. Even better was the cannoli my husband and I shared after dinner, filled with a creamy and sweet ricotta mixture.
My husband had his standard there, fish and chips and we all shared a bottle of Cabernet.
The gentleman who waited on us was professional and provided great service for an enjoyable evening out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


The Pekin Daily Times reported that Jimbo's Jumbo is set to reopen in Pekin.

You may have heard about FedEx giving away 30,000 $25 gift cards to support Small Business Saturday, which falls on November 26. I managed to score one of the cards and will use it to supplement my support of local shops and restaurants this weekend.
Remember to support your favorite mom and pop restaurants by either dining there or spreading the cheer with gift cards for those on your "nice" list.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Salt restaurant on Prospect in Peoria Heights opens today serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A sign has gone up for the new restaurant in the former Steak n Shake location on NE Adams in Peoria which reads Juicy's Famous Steak and Lemonade.
A sign has also gone up at the former Lonny's Dairyland spot on Farmington Road that reads O's Tacos -n- More. In addition to dine in and carry outs, they will have a drive thru for your taco toting convenience.
Boss Hogs has taken over the Cracklin' Jake's spot in Banner.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Keil's Bar & Grill

The sign at Keil's Bar & Grill on S. Summit Drive in Sunnyland reads established 1994. The location did serve as home to other establishments during the past couple of years, such as the Golden Greek, however Keil's reclaimed the spot late this summer.
We stopped at Keil's for dinner last month before heading to a movie at the nearby Sunnyland Cinemas.
We entered the family-friendly dining room and were greeted and seated in a booth by the windows.
They were featuring some dinner specials which included a salad bar plus a pizza and pitcher special, however I decided to order the French dip which came with homemade fries or chips. I selected the chips, and my husband ordered a Reuben.
The chips were good as was the French dip, served on a long Ciabatta style roll.
Keil's serves food Tuesday-Saturday starting at 4 p.m. and opens at noon on Saturdays.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Firehouse Pizza on Main Street in East Peoria has opened a pub next door.

The 3rd Thursday Pack The Place Lunch will be held at Rizzi's on State. Print your coupon for 25% off your bill and head over this Thursday for some great Italian fare.

Salt restaurant plans to open very soon on Prospect in Peoria Heights. They've posted some photos on facebook that have my tastebuds intrigued.

Kudos to Smo-King Pit and June for receiving 100 on the most recently published restaurant inspections.

Friday, November 11, 2011

EP's Timeout and Sports Eatery

EP's Timeout sits along East Washington Street where Diana's Family Restaurant once did in East Peoria.
I've eaten at the sports-themed bar and restaurant about three times, twice for lunch and once for breakfast.
The most recent time we had lunch there, they had $5 lunch specials that included a soft drink, which is quite a deal. My husband and I both had hot beef, the comfort meal featuring white bread, roast beef and a scoop of mashed potatoes drenched in beef gravy. With the weather turning cooler, that meal sounds great about right now!
In addition to a Sunday breakfast buffet, which we have not tried, EP's breakfast features a good selection of the usual suspects: eggs, biscuits and gravy, waffles, French toast, pancakes, meat and the like. The food was better than the cheap breakfast fare some places offer up.
The menu runs the whole gamut, from pizza to wraps to salads and healthier fare, plus stuffed burgers and hot dogs. And yes, there are plenty of TVs in case you want to catch a game while you're there.

Monday, November 07, 2011


Thirty-Thirty Coffee Co. is now open on Main Street in Peoria.

I noticed a new sign for 2 Doors Down on Main Street at the former Whammy Bar location.

The Country Diner in East Peoria has closed. Looks like it will soon reopen as an El Mexicano of Peoria fame.

SOPs on Main in Peoria has closed.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Yesterday I read with dismay the news on Peoria.com that Mr. G's Chicago Style of Peoria had closed, and also received emails from some of my loyal readers about the closing. The Journal Star printed a story in today's paper about Mr. G's.

I also heard from a reader that a new Lebanese restaurant will open soon in Peoria's Parkway Plaza called Kabab-G.

I noticed some construction going on recently at the former Lonny's Dairyland location on Farmington Road in West Peoria, and someone gave me a tip that it may be opening as a Mexican restaurant.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Ironstone Room

A few weeks ago we met my parents in Manito to have lunch at The Ironstone Room. We started off in Willett's Winery by sampling some wine and took a look at the banquet space between the winery and restaurant, which was new since our last visit.
The restaurant is housed in a former bank complete with vault. The walls are a warm yellow accented with white trim, and the room has an airy feel.
We started off with the Leon Millot red wine to accompany our food selections. I ordered the Ironstone Reuben ($7.95) with the bacon cheddar potato salad as my side. My husband ordered the Grand Gourmand salad ($8.95) with bleu cheese dressing.
Next we tried the Noiret, also a red wine, which really paired well with my meal. Thinking about it now, I'm regretting that I didn't go back to the winery after eating to pick up a bottle to take home.
The Reuben, topped with not only cheese but a slaw that included apples and a hint of horseradish, was served on crisped Pumpernickel. The creamy potato salad was filled with big cubes of cheddar and bacony goodness, and my husband kept stealing bites of it from my plate.
His salad was filled with Bavarian ham, honey roasted turkey, cheeses, greens and veggies topped with bacon crumbles and hard boiled egg.
Service was good and this stop made for a quite enjoyable Sunday destination.

Friday, October 28, 2011


EB Buildings and Lumber Co., established in 1960, is celebrating their grand reopening today and tomorrow in Princeville. There will be food available and prize drawings.

I've noticed that Thirty-Thirty Coffee Co. is almost ready to open their shop in the Kickapoo Building on Main Street in Peoria. Watch for them to open in early November.

Sentimental Journey

We headed out shopping in Washington last week for Moonlight Madness and paid a visit to several of the stores.
One of my first stops was Sentimental Journey, located in an old red brick building on the square. The store shares a building with the Framer's Gallery.
The first thing that snagged my attention was the Wee Forest Folk mice. I used to love looking at these mice in their costumes at The Mole Hole in Bloomington/Normal years ago! They are adorable.
My friend mentioned that she was a big fan of Vera Bradley, and Sentimental Journey had a nice selection of the bags.
Soon I also noticed several items made in USA in the shop including Eucalyptus Stoneware baskets. My friend explained to me that you warm the basket in the oven and it holds heat to keep your bread warm once it's on the table.
I also noticed some jackets made in the USA by Winding River. They were tapestry style patterns and are reversible as well. They looked like something my mom would enjoy for Christmas.
The shop was also filled with plenty of baby gifts, ornaments, and Christmas villages, just to name a few of the items.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The former Harold's Hamburgers in Sunnyland is being spruced up. I heard that the new tenant may be a bar.

The old Steak 'n Shake at 2613 NE Adams in Peoria also appears to be getting ready to reopen, this time  with some sort of a Chicago style food focus. The most recent restaurant located there was Lee Family Restaurant.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Round up

A few months after Peoria's Chevy's closed, I hear Bloomington's location has now suffered the same fate.
If you are looking for Mexican food in the area, there are a lot of options. El Mexicano and Mi Familia have good authentic style food. Lorena's Mexican Restaurant and Jalapeno's are a great option if you'd like to add a cerveza or margarita to your meal.
This Saturday we had dinner at Tequila's Mexican Bar & Grill in Washington while they had a live mariachi band in house. Our meals and service were good, and the band lent a fun festive flair to our experience.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mama Rae's

An ad in a local flyer for Mama Rae's in Morton caught my eye due to the retro diner feel of the graphics. We set out on a recent Sunday to give it a try.
We found the restaurant attached to a gas station near I-74. The location used to house the Morton Family Restaurant.
The walls were painted a warm red and there were a few vintage looking signs and some movie memorabilia on display.
We were seated in a booth and it took a little bit before our waitress had a chance to stop by and take our order.
I ordered the Irish skillet, one of the breakfast specials which was a layer of American fries, corned beef, and mozzarella topped with two eggs and toast on the side for $6.99. My husband ordered Rae's spicy cajun, a grilled chicken breast sandwich topped with cajun spices, grilled mushrooms and onions, which came with soup for $6.99. The waitress recommended their tomato soup, which was hearty and filled with ravioli pillows.
My skillet was stick to the ribs good, topped with my choice of scrambled eggs. I honesty could have done without the American fries at the bottom of the skillet and would have been just as happy with the price, but I'm sure many others appreciate the portion size.
An older gentleman nearby was dining alone and all of the employees seemed to know him and stopped by to greet him by name and check to make sure he had everything he needed.
We had plenty of drink refills and everyone was friendly at Mama Rae's. There are currently some coupons available on their web site, so it's worth a check if you're planning to visit soon. Dinner is currently served Thursday-Saturday only.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wild Berries

My husband had tried Wild Berries a few years ago in Normal, but I had never been there.
We made our first visit to the new Peoria location the week of August 22, when they had been open just a few weeks.
We had to wait about 10 minutes to be seated.
The menu has a ton of options including breakfast all day (which I am a sucker for), and many things sounded good. I ordered the Sante Fe chicken wrap ($8.45) for lunch, which came with soup and choice of waffle fries, fruit, pasta salad or orzo salad. I selected the beef barley soup and fruit.
My husband ordered a chicken sandwich (pretty sure it was a daily special) with some sort of garlic sauce, along with soup and fruit.
Our sandwiches did take a bit of time to arrive, but the soup was out quickly and the waitress checked on us often and kept the drink refills coming.
The beef barley soup was homemade, as are their other soups, and it was thick and a bit spicy.
The wrap was stuffed with chicken salad and cheese and was good, although far too much for me to eat.
My husband's chicken breast was large and did not appear to be your standard institutional frozen flock variety, which may be why it took a bit longer to prepare. I appreciated the quality.

This week we returned to Wild Berries for lunch again and did not have to wait for a table.
I decided to try something off the breakfast menu, and although I was glad to see multigrain pancakes and cranberry nut pancakes on the menu, after seeing "Wild Berries Famous Swedish Pancakes" I figured I had to try them. They were listed as being served with lingonberries and lingonberry butter, for $7.75.
My husband had another special chicken sandwich, this time a panini with chipotle sauce.
This time our food came out much more quickly.
I absolutely loved the pancakes. I spread the sweet lingonberry butter on them and gobbled them right up, then enjoyed my Canadian bacon and lingonberries as a chaser.
We also tried their cheesecake shot dessert, which was a shot glass layered with crumb topping, some pink fruity topping and some gooey cheesecake goodness. I don't know that variety of fruit the topping was, but it almost tasted like strawberry lemonade to me, and whatever it was, it was good.
We were seated in sight of the cash register, and often during lunch I noticed a handful of people waiting to pay, so as soon as we had our bill and I saw a break in the line, I darted out to cash out.
Our server this time was a man, and he was also johnny on the spot with refills and was cheerful and witty.
I'm glad to have a new tasty place for breakfast food.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


German Specialties in Peoria has closed.

Thanks to reader tips yesterday letting me know that the Lariat Steakhouse in Peoria is under renovation. The Journal Star reported today that the owners hope the renovations will be completed by Thanksgiving.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Bemer's Village Inn

Housed in a block building built in the 1970s, Bemer's Village Inn, along the river in Spring Bay, has that broken in feel of a place that's been popular for serving up huge homemade tenderloins for decades.
I tried said tenderloin, the 1/2 version ($4.75), and found it to be large and properly fried, dressed with my choice of onion, pickle and mustard. The loin hung way outside of the boundaries of the bun.
We dined with a fairly large group in the bar, which gave us a good excuse to order some appetizers. We started with onion rings, which were a tasty, thin variety. Next up was the winner for me, the corn fritters, which I swear were about the size of racquetballs.
The Village Inn features daily specials, many of which include their salad bar, and they are closed on Mondays.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


Lost and Found, which was located at 1315 Seiberling in Peoria Heights, should be open at their new location in the Heights, 1307 E. Duryea, on Saturday.

Tavern on Prospect will celebrate their 2 year anniversary with a bash this Saturday starting at 5 p.m. with complimentary small bites served from 7-9 p.m. at their location in Junction City.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sicily Pizza

My husband spent many years eating Sicily Pizza in Washburn and raves about it to this day.
Several weeks ago we made the drive out and sampled a fresh, hot pie for dinner.
The restaurant has expanded a few times over the years, and we took a seat in the dining room to the left of the counter, where we found a couple and two children chatting while waiting for their pizza.
We ordered a five cheese pizza from the young gentleman who waited on us, a pleasant chap who kept the iced tea refills coming.
The pizza had a simple quality, tasting of tomato and cheese, without a lot else to stand in the way of a homemade Italian-style pizza.
If you decide to go, be aware that they did not accept credit cards as of the time of our visit.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I stopped by Olio & Vino in Peoria Heights to stock up on some olive oil and noticed that Salt has hung their sign for their new restaurant. I'm really interested to try the food.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I just found out that the former Gene's Dairy Dream building in Peoria has been torn down. Gene's was nostalgic to me because I used to live in the Oberlander building off of University Street, and Gene's was in the parking lot. They had lots of wonderful treats available.
Most recently the building housed America's Best Food & Ice Cream.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Round up

Recently I enjoyed a delicious lunch at Beignet's On the Corner in Peoria and shared a very tasty portabella appetizer at Basta O'Neills in Washington.
I also made it to The Spotted Cow in Peoria for lunch. I swear they have the best Italian beef meat I've ever found in the area, and I also had the bonus of trying their delectable pumpkin ice cream for the first time. I had a hard time choosing between that flavor and the one with sweet corn in it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Famous City Bistro

We visited the newly-opened Famous City Bistro in Peoria for a quick dinner one weeknight.
Pulling in to the parking lot from northbound University Street, I saw a yellow arrow painted on the pavement pointing toward me, so I turned to the right and had a bit of difficulty maneuvering into a parking space, but several spaces were open so it was not a big deal.
We noticed their digital sign said they were looking for bartenders, and we were surprised to learn that the restaurant served alcohol. I had expected that it was more of a sandwich shop.
We headed toward a nice outdoor dining area and into the first dining room, which featured a bar along the back wall.
The decor was modern with black leather look chairs flanking the tables and bar. I liked the fluffy looking white clouds painted on the sky blue ceiling, and if I was decorating a condo, I would have to know where they got the beautiful pendant lights over the bar.
We were greeted and taken to a table by the window. We were both pleased with the drink specials for the night, a $4 margarita for me and some sort of beer for StfRon.
The margarita was quite good, better than one I had recently at a Mexican restaurant actually, and came with extra 'rita in a shaker so I could top it off as I enjoyed it.
The menu featured a large selection of sandwiches U.S. cities are famous for, such as a New Orleans po boy, Cape Cod fish and the like.
Noticing that they had hickory smoked selections on the menu, my husband had to know what kind of smoker they used. We found out that the smoker is an Old Hickory and that there was an experienced BBQ competitor on staff manning the ship.
After reading about the Santa Fe grilled chicken sandwich, billed as a grilled chicken breast seasoned with special chili-lime seasoning, served with fresh Pico de Gallo, a cheddar jack blend and topped with sweet chili sauce on a ciabatta roll, I had to give that a try. Nothing on the sandwich overpowered the chicken breast, which was juicy and hot, tucked into the soft Ciabatta roll.
I also tried their smoked baked beans, which were indeed smoky and savory.
My husband enjoyed the Dallas brisket and tried the selection of sauces offered. This sandwich made up for a disappointing BBQ experience he had at a food truck on the riverfront recently.
Our waitress was attentive, making sure we had everything we needed and offered water when my husband declined another beer.
In addition to all of the sandwiches, Famous City also offers salads, burgers and wraps and plan to start serving breakfast soon. They also feature live music some nights.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Panache in Peoria's Sheridan Village is now closed.

If you stopped by River Beach Pub along River Beach Drive in Rome recently and found them closed, they are back from vacation and open as of Tuesday and will feature live music this Saturday night.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Kaydee Kats is now open in the former Pizza Hut on Prospect Avenue in Peoria Heights.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Maurie's Candies in Pekin is making their well-known caramel apples now. If you love a good caramel apple and haven't tried theirs, I would recommend it. The apples they use compliment their divine caramel wonderfully. It is a good idea to call ahead and make sure they have some if you are making a trek over there.

Speaking of things that remind me of fall, I can't believe this weekend is Peoria Oktoberfest weekend. The celebration will run Friday-Sunday on the Peoria riverfront featuring German music, food and beer.

Friday, September 09, 2011


Sunday, September 11, Bernardi's family of restaurants will donate $1 of each guest check to local fire and rescue organizations. Visit Mona's or Capponi's in Toluca, Bernardi's in Washington, Bernardi's North in Dunlap or Bernardi's II in Pontiac.

Sunday, September 04, 2011


Leaves-n-Beans has opened a new coffee shop in Morton at 213 S. Main Street. In addition to their fresh roasted coffee, sandwiches, salads and more are available.

Friday, September 02, 2011


I heard a few weeks ago that Panache in Peoria was for sale. Today on peoria.com I read that they will be closing next Friday. I will miss their gelato and wish the owner well.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Davis Bros. Pizza recently took over the former Godfather's Pizza location in Peoria at 618 W. Glen Avenue.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

3 Reales Tienda Mexicana

I completely forgot about 3 Reales Tienda Mexicana having a restaurant inside, so it took me a while to get around to dining there.
We walked in to the Mexican grocery, housed in the former Lums on Knoxville Avenue in Peoria, on a recent Saturday and found the small dining room to the right. A young lady brought us some menus and took our drink orders, bottled water for both of us.
Soon we had some very crunchy tortilla chips and two dishes of spicy salsa in front of us as well. It took me a while, but I determined that I liked the green variety better.
I decided to try one chicken taco and one carne asada (steak) taco on soft corn tortillas. We also tried a green chicken tamale, one of a few varieties they offer.
The tacos were good, both dressed in our favorite manner, topped with onion and cilantro and served with lime wedges, but the standout for me was the tamale. The corn meal seemed whiter than most I've seen, and the green sauce gave it a great flavor.
A table of men dining near us each ordered a bowl of soup that I guess was probably tortilla soup. The bowl size was quite impressive.
Service was good and the prices were reasonable.

Monday, August 29, 2011


I heard that Victor's Mexican restaurant in Washburn will close September 4.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The Mix Sandwich Works is now open at 1401 Southwest Washington Street in Peoria.
Lou's Drive In in Peoria closes for the season this weekend. August 27, I believe.
Starting Friday, Peoria's Irish fest, Erin Feis, will be held on the river front. I plan to take in some Bogside Zukes and some other good Irish tunes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Other Dawg

My dawg StfRon and I visited The Other Dawg in Peoria Heights for lunch recently. The small dinette is tucked behind Subway on Prospect Avenue.
My past dining out experience with hot dogs involved trips to DQ with my mom when I was a kid. Always a dog with mustard and some sort of ice cream treat to accompany it. Later, I was introduced to Chicago dogs at Duffy's in Peoria's Westlake and developed a taste for those as well, but I've never really been into a dog topped with meat sauce.
I opted for a plain dog ($1.75) at The Other Dawg and dressed it with mustard and relish. This was not a natural casing wiener, but it was a nice quality frankfurter, a beef/pork blend.
My husband probably ordered a meat laden dog, being a fan of such nonsense, but I honestly don't remember. The Other Dawg has a meat sauce they developed to rival the sauce of Wonder Dog fame.
The restaurant also offers a selection of tamales including a black bean variety.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I just heard the Peoria Theater will be closing September 15. I will certainly miss their independent films!

I have also heard that German Specialties in Peoria will also be closing in several weeks.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Cranwill's Drive-In in Pekin will close for the season in October.

I have irritated a reader due to not approving negative comments on my blog.
I receive negative comments about a business about once a year. This blog has been around for five years, so that seems like a pretty good track record.
The comments run the gamut of our food was raw, the owners did not pay such and such bill or no one in the kitchen is food and safety certified. Most of the comments strike me as coming from people who know someone in the establishments personally who are angry with them. A few are constructive from people who just had a bad experience.
If I personally have a poor experience with a business, I give them a second chance. If I have continual bad experiences with the same place, I will not support it on my blog. But I see no point in posting negative comments about an establishment on a blog called Support your local central Illinois businesses. Even if the bad statements are not my own, posting them is not supportive of the business. There are plenty of open forums and review sites for that sort of commentary.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Sam's Roadhouse

We had lunch at Sam's Roadhouse this weekend, in the former Cheddar's site in Peoria. Yes, the building has had another tenant since Cheddar's, but it's still the Cheddar's building to me.
When we arrived for a late lunch the restaurant was not busy, but we opted to take a table in the lounge after being given the choice by our hostess, who also dropped of a small bucket of peanuts in the shell.
Our server stopped by and introduced herself as Sam, but I don't think it's her roadhouse. She was cheerful and headed off to get our iced teas while we looked over the menu with country music as our companion.
I ordered the Cajun chicken sandwich and replaced my fries with rosemary potatoes. My husband copied my choice but subbed broccoli.
Our waitress brought a basket of warmed sweet rolls with a cinnamon buttery spread. They were soft, yeasty and tasty.
The sandwiches were not too spicy, with just a hint of Cajun heat, topped with melted Monterey jack, lettuce and tomato and we also had some remoulade to add to the mix. My small side of skin on rosemary potatoes (just the right size), as well as my sandwich were served hot and were enjoyable. Also on the menu is seafood, ribs, steaks, burgers and more.
Our server kept the refills coming and we decided we would much rather come to this roadhouse than a popular one in East Peoria. It's been years since I've been over there, but I would say the sweet rolls at Sam's rivaled theirs and there was no two hour wait involved.
Lunch is currently only available on weekends.

June 2012 — Sam's Roadhouse has closed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fare and wares at Willett's Winery for half price

Willett's Winery & Cellar in Manito is the next business to be featured on WEEK.com's Hot Deal. Starting Thursday, receive $20 worth of food, wine or merchandise for only $10. The Ironstone Room restaurant at the winery serves creative cuisine for lunch and dinner. The hot deal runs through Friday, so don't wait too long.


A "paint your own" pottery and glass fusing studio is opening soon on the square in Washington. Watch for Created Just By Me Pottery & Art Studio.

The former Pizza Hut in Peoria Heights will soon reopen as Kaydee Kats, which will also serve pizza.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I hear that The Mix Sandwich Works will open a new location on SW Washington Street in Peoria in the former Hardee's/Gyros King spot.

You may have heard that Running Central will leave their Main Street location in Peoria at the end of this month, heading to Heritage Square in Peoria Heights.

Next Thursday 309 in Peoria Heights hosts the 3rd Thursday Pack the Place lunch. Get your coupon for buy one lunch, get one 50% off, valid on July 21 between 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


Wild Berries is opening soon in the former Dane's Bar & Grill location in Peoria. Their Normal location has been open for two years. They plan to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Peoria location.

Le Bistro

Last week I visited the newly opened Le Bistro in Peoria's Metro Centre for lunch.
Although impressed with the idea of their "picked by you" salad option where you pick from four types of greens, four ingredients from a large list of add ins and your choice of dressing, I decided to try the Asian salad due to the description. The salad ($7.95) is a combo of romaine and baby spinach topped with Granny Smith apples, dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, strawberries and slivered almonds tossed in a toasted sesame dressing. You can also add grilled chicken for $2 more, which I skipped. I placed my order at the counter to the right, added an iced tea and headed to the left counter to pay.
I took a seat in the dining area (updated with new cheery paint colors) and soon my name was called to pick up my salad. Accompanied by a sesame-topped soft roll, the salad was wonderful and the dressing was light, yet flavorful. The owner also stopped by my table to see how everything was.
Of course since I had such a healthy lunch, I meandered next door to Le Bakery to get a snickerdoodle cookie for a mere 80 cents.
In addition to salads, Le Bistro offers panini and various sandwiches, soups, quiches, pastries and Espresso drinks.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


BBQ is returning to University Street near Pioneer Parkway in Peoria with the announcement that Grandpa John's BBQ will open a restaurant next to Elliott's.

Last month Pink Sugar Boutique moved from the former Hunt's location on Farmington Road to a new location at 4921 N. Sheridan Road in Peoria.

Sam's Roadhouse is now open in the former Cheddar's/Brickhouse restaurant off of War Memorial Drive in Peoria.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I hear that Lester's Donuts has reopened their Glen location in Peoria.

There is a crew working outside of the former Vallarta's restaurant on University in Peoria. I did notice the sale or lease sign was removed a few weeks ago. I wonder who the new tenant will be?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Retro American Tap

Last week we decided to try Retro American Tap for lunch, newly opened in the former Old Chicago spot along Peoria's river front.
As we were greeted and taken to a booth we were told that our lunch options included a Retro potato bar, horseshoes or selections from the sandwich menu, and were welcomed to take a look at the potato bar.
I did walk by the bar and noticed a decent selection of items in addition to the several potato options, such as a southwest corn pudding style dish, Jalepeno cornbread and lots of potato toppings. I decided to eat from the potato bar for lunch.
My husband ordered a bacon cheeseburger, and I was informed that my potato bar came with soup or salad ($9.99 including a soft drink). I opted for their  Greek style salad.
Sandwich options included catfish, a Philly, honey chicken, pulled pork and more paired with a choice of three types of fries or bacon potato salad.
While we waited for lunch the chef visited our table and asked what we had ordered. When he found out that we had not opted for the potato soup, he soon brought a sample by. The made from scratch soup was creamy, rich and flavorful, and even had bits of sausage in it.
For my tuber from the bar I took a yam and topped it with a bit of butter (or spread) and a scoop of brown sugar. I seemed to notice a bit of cinnamon, which I'm guessing was mixed in with the brown sugar that added a nice touch. I also sampled the corn casserole and the cornbread, both of which had a decent kick.
On a side note, my husband did dart over to the room off to the side to check out the "arcade". I didn't take a look, but commented that maybe a sign might be in order telling people it was back there because I never would have realized it.
Our server was very cheery and did a good job taking care of business.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


I've been watching with interest the renovations going on at the Kickapoo Building on Main Street in Peoria. My husband heard on the radio this morning that it is going to house a coffee shop complete with the former Jumer's bear.

Le Bistro has opened in Peoria's Metro Centre.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Lost & Found

Last week I stopped by Lost & Found in Peoria Heights. What a cute shop!
There were vintage items mixed in with fun new stuff. Things like home decor, colorful drink tumblers, pretty gift wrap, handmade earrings, stationery, junk free soaps and bath salts and much more all artfully arranged in the Lost & Found shop.
And today I see that they are featured on Seize the Deal with a $20 store credit for just $10.
If you have some gifts to buy or are looking for something fun for yourself, stop by and take a look.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Tobin's Pizza

A couple of weeks ago on my husband's date night he announced that we were going to Bloomington to try Tobin's Pizza.
In business since the 1960s, Tobin's is one of the top names in pizza in the Twin Cities. From what I hear, either you are a fan of Tobin's or you are a fan of Lucca, kind of like the whole Beatles/Rolling Stones debate.
I would have to say after trying Tobin's, I am a fan of both.
The decor was what a pizza parlor should be: not too bright, not too new, cozy and well loved. I would have preferred hearing some Italian mob hits, but that's because I'm not a fan of country music, which is what was playing during our visit.
We had to wait about 20 minutes for a table during the height of Saturday night dinner, which many other people were happily doing.
After hearing that this was our first time there, our waitress told us about their most popular deal, the Family Buck Stretcher. Order a 16" pizza and for just $1 more you can receive the same topping pizza in a 10" size to take home for later. We opted for their "Special" with sausage, mushrooms, onions and pepperoni but skipped the green peppers.
The piping hot pie was thin crust, nice and crispy and the toppings were of nice quality, simple and flavorful. I especially enjoyed their sausage, which I usually just tolerate to appease my husband.
I did see that a ton of what appeared to be birthday cookies were going out of the kitchen and noticed that they have a birthday club that seems to be wildly popular.
We also noticed that a gentleman who appeared to be an owner was visiting each table to make sure everything was OK, and was also pitching in to help bus tables on a busy Saturday night.
They also were doing a bustling delivery business and the parking lot was an almost never-ending stream of delivery cars.
If you're not a fan of pizza, Tobin's has many other items on the menu such as fried chicken and spaghetti, but I can't imagine not having pizza when I come back.
If you're already a fan or want to give it a try, there are currently a few $50 gift certificates available for $25 to save you some dough on your pie.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Retro American Tap has opened in the former Old Chicago spot on Peoria's riverfront. We plan to check it out next week.

The former Cheddar's/Brickhouse location in Peoria will soon be home to a new restaurant. I believe it's called Sam's Roadhouse.

I noticed a hot dog vendor among those now set up near the courthouse in downtown Peoria. We plan to check it out in a week or two.

This Saturday at 8 a.m. the Peoria RiverFront Market opens for the season. Looks like there are some new vendors including a coffee roaster and a kettle corn vendor.

Basta Eastport (East Peoria) and Basta O'Neills (Washington) are the Pack the Place lunch spots for June 16. Buy one lunch, get one half off with coupon.

Peoria's Illinois Antique Center is now closed.

Davis Bros. Pizza in Peoria Heights has closed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Barrister's Pizza and Pub has opened in Deer Creek.

 Manito's Wine, Art, Balloon and Jazz fest is this Saturday. You can purchase two tickets for $20, a half price deal, from WEEK.com.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Palanza Pizzeria in East Peoria has reopened.

Noir Tapas & Rendezvous Lounge in Peoria Heights is featuring Salsa on the Sidewalks every Tuesday from 7-10 p.m. starting tonight.

Friday, April 29, 2011


The Other Dawg restaurant has opened in the former Lester's Donuts shop on Prospect in Peoria.

Lou's Drive-In in Peoria is open for the season.

Illinois Antique Center in Peoria will be closing.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Mix Sandwich Works

A couple of months ago one of my readers asked if I had tried The Mix Sandwich Works in Peoria yet. I had not, but last weekend we visited there for lunch.
Housed in a former KFC, you can view the menu on the wall over the counter where you order, or you can place your order at the drive thru. Perusing the menu on the wall, my husband asked if their Philly steak sandwich was served with green peppers, so the server asked if it was our first visit and gave us a paper menu which had descriptions of the sandwiches. He also pointed out their "Make it a Meal" offer where you can add a large order of fries and a 20 oz. drink for $2 more.
I opted for a grilled chicken pita ($4.99) and my husband ordered the chili dog meal ($4.29) after finding out that the chili did not have beans in it.
Our order came up quickly. My pita was soft and warm, topped with piping hot chicken strips and paired with a generous portion of gyro sauce. My husband enjoyed his 100% Vienna beef chili dog and we shared the fries, which were of the skin-on variety.
The dining room was tidy, but a bit smoky on our visit. The signage inside was a nice touch and except for the outside style of the building, it didn't remind me of a KFC.
Sandwiches range from gyros, burgers, Polish sausages, subs and croissants and they also offer salads, wings and fish dinners. There are kids meals available from $2.99-$3.29. I also noted with interest that they were offering Baklava and cheesecake for $1.99.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Beignet's On The Corner

Last week I had lunch at Beignet's On The Corner, which replaced Water Street Wines at the corner of State and Water streets in Peoria.
I love what they've done with the decor. The changes aren't big, but they do have a nice impact.
I couldn't decide between the Creole onion soup or the shrimp bisque to go with my salad. I went with the shrimp bisque, deciding that I could order the onion soup another time. However, the bisque was so good I don't know if I will ever be able to bring myself to order anything else.
The salad I chose was the Ensalada de Berros which was an interesting mix of artichoke hearts, grapefruit, and almonds topped with avocado and a vinaigrette.
Other items on the lunch menu include po' boys, burgers, chicken, brisket, sausage and more, most with a Creole flair.
My server was prompt, polite and efficient and I was able to get in and out in a reasonable amount of time for a work-day lunch. Another thing I appreciated was when asked how many checks and I said one is fine, the server brought the check to me (a female) and not my male companion.
Can't wait until the patio seating is open for the season!

Thursday, April 07, 2011


The Hick'ry Stick has a truck set up at Peoria Palace skating rink for the season.

Most local ice cream shacks are now open for the season including M & M Twistee Treat in East Peoria.

I've been hearing things about Salt restaurant which will open soon on Prospect in Peoria Heights. They will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner and the restaurant name stems from the specialty salts they will use.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Time flies

So, I have been briefly mulling over ideas for a blog post regarding my fifth anniversary with my blog, Support your local central Illinois businesses. Problem was, I thought the anniversary was in May. Turns out it came and went March 5, and I didn't realize my error until this week.
Once I realized how far gone the anniversary was, I had decided to let it slip away.
But I thought it fitting to point out that today is National Mom and Pop Business Owners' day. So get out there and support your favorite Mom and Pop. Pick up some meat at your local butcher shop, have a drink at your favorite watering hole, pick up a bottle of your favorite Illinois wine or stop by your favorite bakery for a treat. Mom and Pop are always glad to see you!

El Mexicano

Just down the road from the Hofbrau on NE Jefferson sits a pretty non-descript restaurant serving Mexican food. In the early 90s the building housed a Daylight Donuts.
We've been to El Mexicano twice now for food, and I know my mom is a fan as well.
The food is good, prices are reasonable and the servers are efficient and polite.
There is seating for a few inside if you want to dine in. There are several picnic tables outside so you can enjoy your burrito alfresco, and they also do a good carry-out business.
They currently don't accept credit cards, so you can leave home without your Visa card.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Publik House

On a recent night after work, we decided to make our first visit to The Publik House in Peoria Heights.
I ordered a nice glass of Cabernet and took a look at the menu while my husband enjoyed a beer.
He had arrived before me and had already made his decision: fish & chips ($13), served with hand-cut french fries.
After hearing a description of the spring vegetable risotto ($9) from one of the employees, I decided to give it a try.
My meal arrived in a bright white bowl that set off the distinct green color of the risotto, nestled with asparagus, leeks, scallions, crisp green peas and shavings of parmesan cheese. It was unexpectedly delicious.
We also decided to splurge and split a dessert: peanut butter mousse sandwiched between two warm peanut butter cookies, paired with a serving of spiced chocolate milk. It was scrumptious.
The menu featured unique offerings for appetizers, sandwiches, soups and entrées, certainly not your ordinary pub fare.
The Publik House made for a great midweek diversion.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Palanza's in Sunnyland is closed. The sign on the door states they are closed for repairs, and will reopen under new management. Palanza's has been in operation since 1957.

Emo's of Peoria will hold their grand opening Monday, March 28. Proceeds from all sales between 5:30-10 a.m. will benefit the Arthritis Foundation’s Let’s Move Together Arthritis Walk on Saturday, June 4th at the Shoppes at Grand Priaire.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Azura Boutique has moved to Peoria Heights.

Peoria's Ice Cream Shack opened for the season yesterday.

Jack's Around the Map Café in Peoria's Metro Center has closed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Donnelly's Shamrock Pub

Trying to find a place to meet my husband near Peoria's Northwoods Mall for lunch, I thought of Donnelly's Shamrock Pub.
The parking lot alone was crazy, trying to jockey around people who were circling the lot. Inside was pretty crazy as well. I had no idea this was such a popular lunch spot.
A bartender took our orders, as we were seated in a booth near the bar. My husband decided to try the chicken sandwich (starts with a W, but the name escapes me now) that his sister likes, which has bacon, cheese and mushrooms on it. I ordered a tuna steak sandwich, and we split an order of fries.
Both sandwiches were good, and were each around $7.
With efficient service, we were in and out in good time.
If Donnelly's was closer to home, I'd probably be there a lot. I see that one of my favorite bands, Bogside Zukes, play there every second and fourth Thursday.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Asia Grill

Last week I met my husband for lunch at Asia Grill in Peoria's Junction City.
We were greeted upon our arrival and escorted to a table in the dining room, and our drink order was taken before we were left to look over the menu.
For lunch you can select an entrée paired with white rice, brown rice or pork fried rice and an egg roll or crab rangoon for $5.49. Drinks were reasonably priced.
I selected the Szechuan chicken with brown rice and crab rangoon. My husband ordered Mongolian beef minus bell peppers with fried rice and an egg roll.
My entrée was just spicy enough, prepared with quality white meat chicken and the brown rice was expertly prepared. The crab rangoon was of the sweet variety, rich and delicious.
I was curious about one of the desserts listed at the table, Tempura ice cream, but was sufficiently full with my lunch combo, so I will have to check it out another time.
The two servers working the dining room checked on us several times. When we were ready to pay, things had gotten a little more harried and it took a few minutes for us to get someone to cash us out, but it was not a big deal and she did apologize for the wait while ringing us up.

Friday, March 04, 2011


Pooch Couture Pet Boutique is now open in Peoria's Junction City.

I've been watching the Project Pack the Place site with interest. The latest offer to catch my eye is for Julie's Corner Store in Lacon. I've heard nothing but good things about the shop. March 8-13 the Pack the Place offer is for Julie's Chocolate Cork Room for a $4 wine tasting and a flight of fudge. The featured wines are Illinois wines. Pick up your coupon here if you plan to check it out.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


We noticed last weekend that Emo's of Peoria was accepting applications, and it looks like they have some signage posted on the windows. Could it be that it's almost coney dog season already?

3 Reales Mexican restaurant and grocery has opened in the former Yamamoto Grill in Peoria. I'm hoping to swing by there to get some goodies for an upcoming party and maybe try some of the food.

The Brickhouse American Grill, which had restaurants in Des Moines and Peoria, has closed their Peoria location in the former Cheddar's spot.

Midwest Uniform Supply will be moving from Sheridan Road to University Plaza near the German Specialties store.

Kelly Ornamental Iron will be moving from Peoria to East Peoria.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Harvest Café

I first found out about The Harvest Café in Delevan via a newspaper ad. What caught my attention was that they are a farm to table restaurant.
The farm to table concept is one of using local meats and produce in restaurants. In theory this can benefit everyone. Not only would the food potentially be fresher, but the local agricultural community would reap benefits from the partnership as well.
The café's website notes "Farm fresh eggs, locally grown produce and fresh Central Illinois ingredients highlight a menu of American classics".
I decided to take my husband for breakfast at the Harvest Café this weekend.
The restored 1890s building, fronted by a large, historic-style storefront windows and graced with hardwood floors and tin ceiling, was beautiful.
On the breakfast menu was an omelette; homemade biscuits served with lamb sausage gravy; French toast made from homemade brioche topped with mascarpone; steak and a farm fresh egg; shrimp and grits; ricotta pancakes; and eggs Benedict made with a farm fresh egg and homemade Canadian bacon. Also on the menu was home made bacon.
I started with a cup of coffee, and found it to be a wonderful bold brew.
My husband ordered the French toast, which was great for me since I was torn between that and a couple of other things, and I ordered the ricotta pancakes. We both ordered bacon with our meals, and for the first time I can ever recall, we were asked if we wanted our bacon crispy. I said yes and StfRon mentioned he didn't want his as crispy.
We both enjoyed our meals and the service, and after sampling the French toast I know I would have been just as happy with that. But I do want to come back and try the eggs Benedict, a menu favorite of mine, and am curious to try the lamb sausage gravy.
The lunch and dinner selections also sound great.
The café is currently only open Wednesday-Sunday, and breakfast is served weekends only.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


A Perfect Pear Boutique in Peoria Heights is celebrating five years of business today. Stop by from 10-7 and enjoy champagne and cupcakes while you shop.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I heard that Carnegies 501 has reopened in the Pere Marquette Hotel in Downtown Peoria.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Dane's Bar and Grill on Brandywine in Peoria is closed. I'm not yet sure if the closure is temporary or permanent.

Friday, February 18, 2011


S'more Couture (2700 W. 2nd Street, Alta) is now featuring locally-designed clothing made right here in Peoria. Kudos for that!

Beignets on the Corner is now open at the former Water Street Wines Café and Coffee location at the corner of State and Water streets in Peoria.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Some of you may have heard that Quizno's on Main Street in Peoria has closed. Today I noticed a new sign over the entrance of the former Quizno's that reads: Haddad's Downtown, since 1980 and there appears to be some activity there.

Rolando's Supper Club

Having heard tales of a huge serving of tasty prime rib, we decided to visit Rolando's Supper Club in Hennepin.
The restaurant (which I believe was formerly known as George O's) uses the slogan "Home of the Prime Cut" in their advertising.
Dinner is served Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Tuesdays they serve fried chicken and a special, and on the weekend nights they serve prime rib, other steaks, seafood and several other menu items including pasta and chicken.
We took a seat in the dining room, which was without music on the evening we were in, but a few other tables of people kept it from being uncomfortably quiet.
We both decided to order the prime rib ($26.95), of which there were no size details on the menu.
Our meals came with choice of potato, for which my husband chose the house potatoes for an extra $2, bread and salad bar. The salad bar consisted of iceberg lettuce, a three bean salad, which I enjoyed, cottage cheese, pickle spears and beets.
Before we had finished our salads, our friendly waitress was on her way to the table with two huge slabs of medium rare prime rib, nicely crusted with pepper and other seasonings.
These steaks were practically three inches thick, and covered most of a standard dinner plate.
After making a small dent in our meal, we stopped by the adjoining bar for a cocktail. Customers and staff alike were both friendly there, and we learned that the building that houses Rolando's has been around since about 1939.
On our way to the car, we saw our waitress outside who again greeted us and told us to have a nice evening.
The steaks were good, so if you are looking for a huge meal or leftovers for several days after and friendly service, Rolando's is worth checking out.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Cabin fever?

If you've been cooped up due to the snow and are ready to get out, here are a few things going on in the area during the next couple of days.

Chic Mcgee, heard on the Bob & Tom Show with Rob Haney is performing at Mason City Limits in Mason City Friday and Saturday night.

Willett's Winery in Manito still has a few tickets for their murder mystery to be held Saturday evening.

Forest Park Nature Center in Peoria is having a book sale Saturday and Sunday.

Lori's Kitchen Store in Washington will offer a Dinner for Dimes class on Monday.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


I recently learned of two more restaurant closings. Paul Kelley's at 401 in Peoria closed late last year.
Chef John's Wine Bar & Grill in Dunlap was last open New Year's Eve.

Amber and Marty's Fillin' Station Family Diner

Sunday my husband wanted to go out for breakfast, so we took the opportunity to try Amber and Marty's Fillin' Station Family Diner in Sunnyland.
We arrived shortly before lunch and there were a handful of tables available in the automotive-themed restaurant, but within 30 minutes there was only one table left.
The menu features several breakfast combos (breakfast all day), omelets, appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and dinners.
As soon as I saw combo #5, the Straw boss ($7.75), I knew that's what I would be having. Smoked country ham, two eggs and choice of potato or grits. Of course I chose grits.
My husband had The buzz combo with pancakes and corned beef hash for $4.25.
Despite the restaurant being busy, it didn't take too long for our food to arrive.
The ham was tasty, and the hearty grits had just a few lumps, just the way I like them, and my husband's hash had a nice crust on top.
Our waitress was friendly and efficient. I'm glad the Fillin' Station is open on Sundays as I could see this being a fairly regular stop.

Round up

Last week I met some friends for dinner at Two25 in Peoria after a stop at I Know You Like a Book and Leaves 'n Beans in Peoria Heights.
It was my first time for dinner at Two25, but I have had lunch there several times.
Our service was top notch, my twin filet Madeira medallions almost melted in my mouth and I enjoyed finding Klinker Brick Zinfandel on the wine list. Also not to be forgotten is the pistachio gelato we all enjoyed for dessert.

This weekend we were headed north to do some cemetery searching and stopped by Jane's Icebox in Dunlap for a bite. The menu featured a surprising number of items, but we are looking forward to visiting in summer as they are located right on the Rock Island Trail, have outdoor seating and serve ice cream.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Deany's Sippys & Eats (in the former Grant's Inn in Mossville) has closed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Round up

My recent Peoria dining experiences include hummus, pita and a garden salad with strawberry poppyseed dressing at One World and a combo featuring garlic tomato soup and a half of a chicken salad sandwich on soft wheat bread at Café 401.

At long last I also had dinner at PV II in Peoria. The standout here was the food: acorn squash soup, like a decadent dessert, served piping hot; rich spinach rotolo, again served piping hot, with an incredible flavor;
and my husband's lasagna, topped with a vibrantly red tomato sauce. The bread was standard fare, accompanied by a quality olive oil. We also tried the flourless torte, which, despite not saying so on the menu, I thought it had a distinct coffee flavor which I preferred over a chocolate only torte.
Service was fine and we also got to take advantage of a bottle of half price wine, which is a Thursday special at the restaurant.

We also stopped for wings and a thin crust pie at Firehouse Pizza in Washington. Yum on both counts!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Flame Family Restaurant

Some friends of ours told us that The Flame Family Restaurant in Metamora was a great place to eat, so on a recent Sunday we headed over to give it a try.
Walking in to what my husband says long ago used to be an A&W, we were greeted by a case filled with scrumptious-looking pies.
We were welcomed by a hostess who took us to a booth, and soon had placed our drink orders with our waitress.
Once my husband saw they had hot turkey on the menu, he ditched the breakfast section of the choices. I almost did the same, but I decided I could try a bite of his turkey, so I ordered French toast with bacon.
My French toast was well-coated in egg batter and the bacon was surprisingly tasty compared to a lot of breakfast places we've been.
My husband had selected a cup of French onion soup to go with his turkey dinner. It arrived not looking like the ordinary variety capped with cheese, but had an almost tomato-looking base, and had a great flavor.
The turkey was not some pressed turkey loaf but was a nice quality bird, and once he took a bite of the mashed potatoes my husband exclaimed with excitement "They're real, with lumps!"
Service was good and all of the employees seemed to be working together, grabbing plates when they were empty and keeping things tidy.
The bill was reasonable, well under $20 for two meals and two drinks.


The Dome Tap in Peoria has closed.

The Loft salon and spa opened in East Peoria last summer.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Closing the book on 2010

Here we are just a week into the new year, and my thoughts have turned to the locally-owned businesses we lost in 2010.
The list includes:

Happy Hanger
Water Street Wines, Café & Coffees
Mushrush's Irish Pub
The Bean
Youssef's Deli
Diana's Family Restaurant
Kaiserhof Restaurant
Velvet Freeze
Goodness Café
Cummins Drive-Thru
Tingleff Pharmacy
Twin Tower Cafe
Jane Dough
Chef Leo's
Heavenly Delights BBQ
Harolds Hamburgers
St. Pauli Pub
The Sports Page
Jane Dough

I'm sure I missed a few.

We've already lost a couple of businesses this year as well. Let's keep supporting those businesses we love and may they thrive in 2011 and beyond!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Caffé Italia Ristorante

My husband works in Bloomington every so often, and he has been raving about a little place called Caffé Italia Ristorante.
He had been hooked by their cheese pizza, and had also tried one of their pastas of the day and raved about the sauce.
I had a chance to have lunch at Caffé Italia a few weeks ago. I ordered the Pizza al Formaggio and a drink and took a seat in the café to await my meal.
Several of the diners appeared to be regulars, possibly from nearby State Farm. Many of them were also partaking of the Italian holiday treats the restaurant had in stock.
My pizza arrived shortly, and it was indeed delicious, with a wonderfully crisp crust.
Beer and wine is available, as well as a couple of my favorites: Gelato and cannoli.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Over Easy Café

We've eaten at the new Over Easy Café on Lake in Peoria twice now.
The first time we ordered off the lunch menu. My husband had a burger and I had turkey.
The restaurant, open for breakfast and lunch, features a daily lunch special and a soup of the day.
A couple of weeks later we sampled the breakfast fare. I had a corned beef hash skillet, which was tasty and plenty to fill me up. If I recall, the husband had biscuits and gravy. We were drinking coffee, and this is one place where they know how to keep the customers' coffee warm. Our waitress and others stopped by several times to top our cups off.
A menu item of note is their cinnamon roll pancakes, which we are eager to try. We weren't feeling the sweet tooth on our last visit, but we'll be sure to try them soon!

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Mickie's Pizzeria has closed their Peoria location. Visit them in Dunlap, East Peoria or Pekin.

I just heard the sad news that Haddad's grocery in West Peoria has burned down and the building is a total loss.