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Deep South (Illinois) Culinary Musts?

Deep South (Illinois) Culinary Musts?
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  • Deep South (Illinois) Culinary Musts?

    Post #1 - September 11th, 2020, 1:32 pm
    Post #1 - September 11th, 2020, 1:32 pm Post #1 - September 11th, 2020, 1:32 pm
    SueF and I are taking a long weekend shortly, to the Cave In Rock / Elizabethtown area along the Ohio River.

    Is there anything down there we shouldn't miss? Places we can dine (outside), winery or cidery, candy/pastry, BBQ...?
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #2 - September 11th, 2020, 2:34 pm
    Post #2 - September 11th, 2020, 2:34 pm Post #2 - September 11th, 2020, 2:34 pm
    It's been nearly 30 years since it was originally published, but Bill Rice's "On the Barbecue Trail in the Tribune's (then) Good Eating section, provided a good guide to Southern Illinois 'Que. Many of the places are long gone, but some have survived, prospered, and even expanded.

    Our favorite of the bunch was Triple `E' Bar-B-Que in Marion; now expanded to multiple locations around the Shawnee National Forest area. We've been to the one on Rt. 13 several times while passing through the region. Triple 'E', along with others in the area specialize in a Southeast style of BBQ, usually found in the Carolinas and Georgia. Their thin sauce is quite different from anything found up north, using apple cider vinegar as a base.

    Triple 'E's 'Que is all very good, but we were especially taken with their blue gill. It's listed on the menu as a fried filet. That visit took place on our way home from NOLA where we'd consumed more than enough fried food so asked if it could be grilled. They were more than happy to oblige, with outstanding results.

    Another fave was Dixie Bar-B-Que in Jonesboro. The interior was a time capsule of a bygone era with cozy wooden booths ringing the exterior, but recent photos seem to indicate they've remodeled to open up the floor plan with regular tables dotting the room. Their Barbeque was unique in that it was fully and properly smoked, then finished off on a griddle(!) creating crisp caramelized edges on the sliced Brisket and Pork sandwiches.

    There's the much lauded 17th St. BBQ with locations now in Murphysboro and Marion. Frankly, we were underwhelmed by the 'Que at both locations. Best thing we've ever had there is the Smoked Chicken, and the sides are pretty good too. Meats are okay, but don't reflect the three Memphis in May Grand Championships they won.

    That may actually be part of the disappointment. As soon as you walk into the Murphysboro location you're confronted with the three MiM trophies, creating an anticipation of life changing BBQ which never materializes. Like I say, it's not bad, but doesn't come close to high expectations.

    Most of the other places were gone as of the last time we passed through, a couple years ago. Lord knows what's left due to the pandemic.

    Buddy

    On the Barbecue Trail article:
    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1993-10-14-9310140198-story.html

    Triple `E' Bar-B-Que
    Rte. 13 East, Marion, Ill.
    618-997-1369.

    Dixie Bar-B-Que
    205 W. Broad St., Jonesboro, Ill.
    618-833-6437

    17th Street Bar and Grill
    32 N. 17th St., Murphysboro, Ill.
    618-684-3722
  • Post #3 - September 11th, 2020, 3:49 pm
    Post #3 - September 11th, 2020, 3:49 pm Post #3 - September 11th, 2020, 3:49 pm
    Casey, IL

    Reflections of the Past, 15 S. Central Ave

    granted I only ate there pre-pandemic, but last December I was very happy with the congenial family running the place and my diner-style breakfast...I don't know how they are running in the pandemic, but, as I will mention down message, they are probably open for business as if nothing has happened...oh, and located in an old bank building with a stuffed tiger hidden behind some dusty fake flora that local lore has it escaped from a circus train and mauled someone, Casey is known for the trains that circuit the town, I love them///the diner itself is a little rundown, but food and service were great last time I was there, and the grand old bank building is impressive

    Richard's Farm, 607 NE 13th St.

    iconic immense restaurant known for their giant BBQ pork chop, huge menu, very, very, very country fare, I usually, when treated :) go for the soup, homemade bread, long ass salad bar option///here is the deal this is NO social distancing, no masking, no nothing...I was there recently for an antiques show and if you have seen one of my favorite films The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2(long story I was in it, but got cut :) anyway the huge side section of the barn was lit like the underworld of that film and filled with creepy farm things(like evil dolls and evil butter molds) I can't imagine anyone buying...but, I got the heebie-jeebies with all of the unprotected people passing by me with zero regard, and the industrial AC blowing shit everywhere...and the entryway packed with locals and tourists waiting to be seated

    Oilfield, 16964 N State Highway 49, Casey, IL, 62420

    I haven't eaten at this roadside shack, but I've heard good things from reputable sources: burgers and such

    And, lastly, Moonshine, the wonder that is Moonshine, 6017 E 300th, Martinsville, IL

    This is the burger shack Oilfield wants to be supposedly. Charles Kurault once profiled it, and, it is seriously out in the middle of nowhere: yes, there is an outhouse. You might see buses pulled up. You will spy old-timers relaxing on the porch. Entering the general store you are perfumed with charring beef grease(very similar to a certain Northside Chicago burger joint). The flat top grill is at the back of the store. There is an immense table of condiments. The burger is what I call "fun," just a burger like you might enjoy at a neighbor's picnic. It is the experience of Moonshine that draws one in, a portal to a special realm where burgers and relaxing outside at the weathered picnic tables makes one feel welcome, at home.
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #4 - September 13th, 2020, 3:13 pm
    Post #4 - September 13th, 2020, 3:13 pm Post #4 - September 13th, 2020, 3:13 pm
    I was going to suggest Moonshine, but I see Christopher has already covered that well. At latitudes a bit farther south, there is Firefly Grill in Effingham and a Dog N Suds in Robinson (the second Dog N Suds franchise ever created and currently the oldest still in operation). But I've got no pushpins as far south as you're going.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #5 - September 13th, 2020, 4:02 pm
    Post #5 - September 13th, 2020, 4:02 pm Post #5 - September 13th, 2020, 4:02 pm
    I have not been to Firefly, yet, but, again heard good things. Unfortunately, the Dog N' Suds in Charleston closed. We can still find their fine bottled root beer at stores in the area. Addendum, recently shopping in Terre Haute(30 min. away) we saw signs for by the slice best NY pizza in the city...and my thought was, the competition is, what?, Dominos? I have to suss this out. Oh, I totally forgot. The first Jimmy John's is in Charleston, for what that is worth(a pilgrimage for aficionados?). And, in Mattoon, ten minutes from Charleston at the end of the city in the old downtown by the railroad tracks, of course, is Hunan Cafe'...still open...we recently drove past after a Home Depot trip. I hope the proprietess, Mai is still working, she did everything, with her beehive bobbing and pleasant demeanor, Chinese-American food, some of the best ever, in nowheresville and great old skool dark, lambent, jade, lanterns, sculptures, murals interior. We always made a point to dine there when we visited family nearish. Our friends had a used bookshop just up the street and I killed their 80's horror section and scifi. They had a hush hush porno area upstairs, vintage Playboys, Hustlers, etc. I didn't know about it for years. But, my thing was genre fiction, firsts, and whatnot. Not to forget: the original Burger King is in Mattoon. Not affiliated with the company, they fought the company to retain their name decades ago.
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #6 - September 14th, 2020, 6:19 am
    Post #6 - September 14th, 2020, 6:19 am Post #6 - September 14th, 2020, 6:19 am
    Mary's in Herrin has been the go to spot since I was a coal salesman 25 years ago. IIRC steak was the star item. I haven't been there in years but the food was great and it was the finest dining in the area.

    http://www.marysfinedining.com/
  • Post #7 - September 15th, 2020, 1:57 pm
    Post #7 - September 15th, 2020, 1:57 pm Post #7 - September 15th, 2020, 1:57 pm
    JoelF wrote:SueF and I are taking a long weekend shortly, to the Cave In Rock / Elizabethtown area along the Ohio River.

    Is there anything down there we shouldn't miss? Places we can dine (outside), winery or cidery, candy/pastry, BBQ...?

    Do you know your route and how far you're willing to deviate from it? On your way south, assuming you'll take I-57 past Champaign, you'll pass through Tuscola ("Broomcorn Capital of the World"). Flesor's Candy Kitchen, a charming old (1901) soda fountain and candy store, is definitely worth checking out. In nearby Arthur you'll find Yoder's Kitchen, a huge Amish feeding hall. They were known for their buffet (I thought it was pretty great, as such things go), but I'm not sure how it's handled now. Both Flesor's and Yoder's have been discussed here. Also in Arthur is Beachy's Bulk Foods, an Amish supermarket, complete with gas lighting and a horse-and-buggy parking area. I got some excellent local grains and legumes there.

    I can't help with the southern Illinois area, but if you venture into Kentucky you'll be on the edge of the barbecued mutton belt (hence my first question). The Kentucky Barbecue Book by Wes Berry is a fantastic resource.

    Flesor's Candy Kitchen
    101 W Sale St
    Tuscola IL
    217-253-3753
    https://www.flesorskitchen.com/

    Yoder's Kitchen
    1195 E Columbia St
    Arthur IL
    217-543-2714
    https://www.yoderskitchen.net/

    Beachy's Bulk Foods
    259 N Co Rd 200 E
    Arthur IL
    217-543-3447
    https://www.facebook.com/beachysbulkfoods/
  • Post #8 - September 15th, 2020, 6:45 pm
    Post #8 - September 15th, 2020, 6:45 pm Post #8 - September 15th, 2020, 6:45 pm
    Rene G wrote:I can't help with the southern Illinois area, but if you venture into Kentucky you'll be on the edge of the barbecued mutton belt (hence my first question). The Kentucky Barbecue Book by Wes Berry is a fantastic resource.


    Thanks for jogging the ol' brain box. Your mention of Kentucky 'Que reminded me of Starnes Bar-B-Q, right across the Ohio River from Metropolis, IL, in Paducah, KY. Typical Kentucky style BBQ served at a classic diner lunch counter. Every sandwich comes neatly wrapped in wax paper sporting "hospital corner" creases.

    Super basic menu is sandwiches only ($2.75 ea.) with your choice of Pork, Beef, Ham, Turkey, or Bologna. Sides include Potato Salad or Cole Slaw. They also sell bags of some local Potato Chip. If you want to eat where the locals do, Starnes is the place.

    Buddy

    Starnes Bar-B-Q
    1008 Joe Clifton Dr
    Paducah, KY 42001
    (270) 444-9555
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Barbecue-Restaurant/Starnes-Bar-B-Q-118036078222073/

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