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Good eats on/near Route 30 - Waterman, Shabonna, Earlville

Good eats on/near Route 30 - Waterman, Shabonna, Earlville
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  • Good eats on/near Route 30 - Waterman, Shabonna, Earlville

    Post #1 - August 12th, 2013, 1:08 pm
    Post #1 - August 12th, 2013, 1:08 pm Post #1 - August 12th, 2013, 1:08 pm
    Mr. X and I were away for our annual volleyball/camping trip with friends in Earlville, IL, this past weekend. Over the years, we've found some good eats on the way to/from Earlville. For example, the Bristol Tap was recommended in the Recs for Plano, IL? thread and it remains one of my top burgers ever.

    For the past couple of years, we've met folks in Waterman for lunch on Friday. Houlahan's Tavern & Grill looks like your standard bar and grill in Small Town, USA. Real nice folks run the place and are very welcoming of our group that has grown from 4 to 14 for Friday lunch. I don't remember the food from previous years, but this year really stuck out. The fish fry platter was a choice of cod or tilapia. I went with the cod and was not disappointed. Four perfectly fried pieces of a beer-battered cod along with a serving of nicely peppered coleslaw and a side salad (an attempt at having something healthy.) Skip the salad and go for the fries. I thought the cod was fantastic. Although not battered in-house, it was great fish and perfectly prepared. The coleslaw is homemade and didn't have that cloying sweetness that comes with some mayo-based slaw. I washed lunch down with a couple of Deschutes Brewery Chainbreaker White IPAs and was a happy camper.

    Earlville is south of Route 30, but not too far away. We tried the new Earlville Tap on Friday night. They didn't know we were coming, which meant some service issues. This place used to be Poka's Bar and Grill, which was mentioned in this thread as having some decent fried chicken. The Earlville Tap is owned by an Illini with ties to Minneapolis/St. Paul. Hence the orange and blue paint job in the place and the Deep Fried and Grilled Juicy Lucy section on the menu. Mr. X had the deep-fried version; I went with the grilled. We enjoyed our burgers, although they were not cardiologist approved. ;-)

    We attempted to try the fried chicken at the jimswside-endorsed Sip-n-Sack (thread here in Mendota but arrived a couple of hours before they opened. The return trip usually involves a late lunch the Dairy Joy in Hinckley, so we headed back to Route 30 after admiring the outside of the Sip-n-Sack. About 12 miles west of Hinckley is Screamers Ice Cream in Shabbona, IL. We were hungry and decided to give Screamers a try. We're glad we did. We asked the young woman working what she recommended and learned they bake all of their breads, rolls and buns. I went with a the single cheeseburger with everything. (sorry about the lousy cell phone picture)


    The bun was great. I should have gotten the double burger for better balance, but I needed to save room for ice cream.

    Mr. X went with the recommended garlic steak and cheese on a herbed bread. This was a fine sandwich.


    Onion rings were excellent.


    I have always enjoyed the old time feel at the Dairy Joy, but I'd go back to Screamer's for the sandwiches in a heartbeat. No pics of the ice cream -- it's not Kopp's custard, but it hit the, spots. I forgot why I don't order dipped cones until I was wearing some of the melted ice cream. ;-)

    Now after a weekend of eating out, I get to figure out what to do with the dozens of ears of corn we bought at the Mendota sweet corn festival...

    * * * * * * * * * * *
    Houlahan's Tavern & Grill
    208 W Lincoln Hwy
    Waterman, IL 60556

    Earlville Tap
    37 West Railroad St.
    Earlville, IL

    Screamer's Ice Cream
    408 E. Comanche (Route 30)
    Shabbona, IL 60550

    Dairy Joy
    436 W Lincoln Ave.
    Hinckley, IL 60520
  • Post #2 - August 14th, 2017, 11:08 am
    Post #2 - August 14th, 2017, 11:08 am Post #2 - August 14th, 2017, 11:08 am
    Dusting off this thread to reinforce my recommendation for the above mentioned Screamers in Shabonna. We were back in the area for our camping/volleyball weekend and stopped at Screamers for lunch on Sunday. I had a BLT and Mr. X had the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. They still make their own bread. I was worried about the BLT on a sub roll, but the proportions worked for me. I didn't try the BPT but Mr. X seemed to enjoy it. As much as I like Dairy Joy in Hinkley for the classic ice cream stand, Screamers is better for the sandwiches.

    Our Saturday dinner was catered by Bonfire BBQ & Catering, which is based at the newly reopened Maple Leaf Park and Campground on Route 34 in Earlville. Pretty standard menu -- grilled chicken (didn't try), Italian beef (tasty, but no giardiniera -- he knows now), mostaccioli, huge salad with local cukes and tomatoes. I didn't try the barbecue, which they are doing Saturdays for lunch for the summer, as we had sandwiches as part of our volleyball thing.

    Oh, and once again, we have lots of corn from the Mendota corn festival. We are creatures of habit. ;-)

    Screamer's Ice Cream (Subs and More)
    408 E. Comanche Avenue (US 30)
    Shabbona, IL 60550

    Bonfire BBQ & Catering / Maple Leaf Park & Campground
    1318 US Hwy 34
    Earlville, IL 60518