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Chicago to Bloomington-Normal, IL on I-55

Chicago to Bloomington-Normal, IL on I-55
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  • Post #121 - January 30th, 2015, 9:12 am
    Post #121 - January 30th, 2015, 9:12 am Post #121 - January 30th, 2015, 9:12 am
    Sharona wrote:
    Have you ever checked out Schooners? They have a huge breaded pork tenderloin and fried chicken there as well. I haven't been there since I had child #1, but their beer garden is fun in the summertime!


    i have not been to the Bloomington Schooners - I have been to the Peoria location, that one has a beer garden too, I agree fun spot.

    Looks like I am doing a Peoria/Bloomington pre Super Bowl run tomorrow to stock up on some meat @ Pottstown Meats, hit a farmers co-op in pekin, and see what else I can cross off my list along the way(Ropps Cheese, a soul food joint, and maybe that fish sandwich at Lunkers).

    A couple addtional spots I am curious about a little south of Bloomington: Boondocks Grill & Bait on Clinton lake & Mamma D's Smokehouse in Weldon.
  • Post #122 - February 25th, 2015, 10:25 am
    Post #122 - February 25th, 2015, 10:25 am Post #122 - February 25th, 2015, 10:25 am
    jimswside wrote:Green Gables Inn is located across the street from Lake Bloomington in Hudson, IL. maybe 15 minutes from Bloomington/Normal.

    Image

    Once a gas station, now a bar/grill, bait shop & grocery. I had heard they had some good burgers here and we were not disappointed. Spot started pumping gas in the 1920's, added the bar about 10 years later. Grill right behind the bar, my kind of spot. Read a story that the flat top was sold at one time, but when a family member wanted to re-open the spot they sought out and bought back the original flat top with its years of flavor.

    Green Gables Bar & Grill
    17485 E. 2500 North Rd.
    Hudson, IL.



    Ive been back to Green Gables quite a few times since this orig. post - just this past weekend actually - I am pretty sure this is one of the best burgers in the state - Their lacy edged smashed Double cheese burger more than gives the Red Hot Ranch Double a run for its money imho.

    got a feeling ill be heading back this Sat. - jah willing.
  • Post #123 - June 3rd, 2015, 2:24 pm
    Post #123 - June 3rd, 2015, 2:24 pm Post #123 - June 3rd, 2015, 2:24 pm
    jimswside wrote:
    popped across the street to the Lake Road Inn for a couple beers after Green gables, i want to go back to try the food.:

    Image

    my kind of menu:

    Image

    Lake Road Inn
    25106 N 1750 East Rd.
    Hudson, IL.


    Saw that the Lake Road Inn is under new management -

    what I found interesting is that it was owned at one time by Steak and Shake founder Gus Belt - approx. 1935 called Gus Belts Lake Road Inn.

    http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/69233378/

    learn something new almost every day.
  • Post #124 - August 14th, 2015, 9:52 am
    Post #124 - August 14th, 2015, 9:52 am Post #124 - August 14th, 2015, 9:52 am
    Just got back from Bloomington, and I can second the recommendation of Anju Above, from jimswside up thread. The Anju/Epiphany combo is a farm-to-table operation that is highly regarded in Bloomington by those who care about such things -- which appears to be a substantial number of people. The approach at Anju is more or less small plates, with an interesting range of offerings, though heavily weighted toward artisanal pizza and sushi rolls. The small plates approach made tasting a variety of things possible. My choice was the sweet ginger salad, which was bright with a bite, with both shaved radishes and ginger adding to the spiciness of the substantial pile of mixed greens. We also had Hawaiian pizza, Korean mandoo (dumplings filled with kimchee), and a very nice (and surprisingly substantial) shrimp tempura roll. Everything was delicious. Epiphany Farms, downstairs, is a bit pricier, I was told, but every bit as innovative and good.

    While in Bloomington/Normal, I was also introduced to Ropp Jersey Cheese, a small farm operation just outside Normal that creates the namesake Jersey cheese, both "straight" and flavored (liked the smoked gouda and green-onion cheddar best of the ones I tried -- bought both), but farmer Ken Ropp then uses the why from the cheese making to help feed his heritage breed pigs, and you can also buy really dandy pork products from him. While visiting, managed to sample both the pork chops and the garlic bratwurst. Ropp caters mostly to local restaurants, but there is a shop on the edge of the farm, so these things are available retail. They also have free-range poultry and beef, though on a smaller scale. So if you're in the area and hankering from some farm-fresh cheese or meat, it might be worth a visit.

    Anju address is above.

    Ropp Jersey Cheese
    2676 Ropp Road
    Normal, IL 61761
    309-452-3641
    http://www.roppcheese.com
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #125 - October 18th, 2015, 2:16 pm
    Post #125 - October 18th, 2015, 2:16 pm Post #125 - October 18th, 2015, 2:16 pm
    I was in the land of chain restaurants (a/k/a Bloomington-Normal) and had a couple of good meals.

    First up, Baxters American Grill. It's a little east of the airport on Empire Street in a Holiday Inn. On Friday night it was hopping. The bar area was really busy. We had a trio of prime rib sliders that had a tiny hint of spice to them, served on nice rolls. The sliders came with spicy onion strings and a couple of dipping sauces. Very tasty.

    Next up, Thai House of Bloomington. It, too was hopping on Saturday evening. Extensive menu. We ordered chicken satay - I thought they were a cut above the average Thai restaurant, and came with a good peanut sauce and cucumber salad. The menu says it takes 10 minutes or something for the satay, and they seem fresh and house-made.

    My sis had pho, which was delicious -- beefy, good noodles, good spicy broth. I had panang chicken curry with broad noodles. Great flavor with lots of chicken. Another hit.


    Baxters American Grill
    3212 East Empire
    Bloomington, IL 61704
    (309) 662-1114

    Thai House of Bloomington
    805 Morrissey Drive
    Bloomington, IL 61701
    (309) 828-2600
  • Post #126 - October 19th, 2015, 9:41 am
    Post #126 - October 19th, 2015, 9:41 am Post #126 - October 19th, 2015, 9:41 am
    Wilmington isnt too far off the I-55 - was over there for the last soccer game of the fall season on Sat. Needed a quick spot for lunch. Nelly's looked to fit the bill after a quick check of the local options - a little later in the day I might have sought out a tavern/roadhouse.

    Liked everything I tasted -

    burger was more than solid @ the $5.50 pricepoint -

    double cheeseburger -
    Image

    also snarfed some nice housemade onion straws as well as a bit of cream of broccoli soup(or cheesey broccoli) - all good - wings were smallish in size, chili dog looked pretty good.

    Id roll through again -

    Nelly's
    140 Bridge Street
    Wilmington, IL.

    http://www.nellysonroute66.com/menu
  • Post #127 - November 11th, 2015, 12:31 pm
    Post #127 - November 11th, 2015, 12:31 pm Post #127 - November 11th, 2015, 12:31 pm
    After enjoying Desthil's Brewery Flander's Red at Barn & Co's October Pitmaster Dinner ( viewtopic.php?f=19&t=42546 ), I'm looking forward to trying some of Destihl's other beers as well as their food while in the Bloomington/Normal area this Saturday.

    Desthil Restaurant & Brew Works
    318 S. Towanda Avenue
    Normal, IL 61761
    309-862-2337
    http://www.destihl.com/

    There is also a Desthil location in Champaign IL
    -
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #128 - November 11th, 2015, 1:21 pm
    Post #128 - November 11th, 2015, 1:21 pm Post #128 - November 11th, 2015, 1:21 pm
    It's a real testiment to Gary's taste that he was able to find a good beer from this place. It all looks so damn promising (albeit weirdly corporate for a downstate college town outfit), but I've rolled snake eyes in Champaign at this spot. Gimmicky, sugar-pop beers and near misses on more standard stuff, in my experience. That bumped me back to Blind Pig after a few good faith college tries.
  • Post #129 - November 11th, 2015, 1:27 pm
    Post #129 - November 11th, 2015, 1:27 pm Post #129 - November 11th, 2015, 1:27 pm
    JeffB wrote:It's a real testiment to Gary's taste that he was able to find a good beer from this place. It all looks so damn promising (albeit weirdly corporate for a downstate college town outfit), but I've rolled snake eyes in Champaign at this spot. Gimmicky, sugar-pop beers and near misses on more standard stuff, in my experience. That bumped me back to Blind Pig after a few good faith college tries.

    I've been to Desthil's Champaign location a few times. The food is largely forgetable but I think their strength is their wild sour beers, which are very good representations of the style.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #130 - November 12th, 2015, 10:23 am
    Post #130 - November 12th, 2015, 10:23 am Post #130 - November 12th, 2015, 10:23 am
    thanks Jeff & Ronnie, too many moving parts to change reservation at this point, hopefully the Bloomington/Normal branch executes better than the Champaign branch.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #131 - November 12th, 2015, 11:58 am
    Post #131 - November 12th, 2015, 11:58 am Post #131 - November 12th, 2015, 11:58 am
    Need to try the sours next time. My recollection is that they were fresh out of the one in rotation the last time I was there. Makes sense that they would be.
  • Post #132 - November 12th, 2015, 1:14 pm
    Post #132 - November 12th, 2015, 1:14 pm Post #132 - November 12th, 2015, 1:14 pm
    JeffB wrote:Need to try the sours next time. My recollection is that they were fresh out of the one in rotation the last time I was there. Makes sense that they would be.

    And don't avoid them in cans, which they produce themselves. They're not as ideal as the taps but they're also worth a shot when they're out of the draft.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #133 - November 16th, 2015, 9:46 am
    Post #133 - November 16th, 2015, 9:46 am Post #133 - November 16th, 2015, 9:46 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    JeffB wrote:Need to try the sours next time. My recollection is that they were fresh out of the one in rotation the last time I was there. Makes sense that they would be.

    And don't avoid them in cans, which they produce themselves. They're not as ideal as the taps but they're also worth a shot when they're out of the draft.
    plenty of cans available, good idea.

    The food at Destihl (Normal IL location) was good, flavors just did not pop on my entree the way I would have liked.

    I had the Thai fried half chicken, w/coconut & scallion rice, spicy thai sauce, jalapeño, ginger, lemongrass, carrots, basil. Smelled terrific, whiff of fish sauce. Taste just did not pop.

    Unfortunately I was with two others that weren't sharers so I didn't get to try the chicken/blue cheese pizza nor the gaucho skirt steak. Feedback was the pizza was so-so and the steak was excellent.

    If going on a weekend night, make sure you have a reservation. I had arrived just after 5pm on a Saturday and the restaurant was really starting to fill up. First available reservation was at 9pm. I luckily grabbed the last 4 top in the bar area (bar area & the tables in the bar area are first come first serve).
    Last edited by Sweet Willie on November 16th, 2015, 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #134 - November 16th, 2015, 9:55 am
    Post #134 - November 16th, 2015, 9:55 am Post #134 - November 16th, 2015, 9:55 am
    I was very early into the Bloomington/Normal area so stopped by a place called Crepe Geeks.

    I had the Marseilles savory crepe - w/ham, cheese, egg.

    A tasty snack, unexpected. Crepe Geeks are catering to the college crowd so to keep things cheap, quality of ingredients is on the low side (sliced Krakus style water ham, shredded no-real-taste cheese). Shame as if the quality was higher, this would have been a really good crepe. That said, I'd have no issue stopping by again if I needed a snack.

    There isn't any seating the restaurant, a couple of card tables & chairs outside.

    Crepe Geeks - Mini French Restaurant
    305 W Beaufort St, Suite # B
    Normal, IL
    Phone: +1-309-200-1500
    http://crepegeeks.com/
    FB page: https://www.facebook.com/CrepeGeeks
    -
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #135 - November 16th, 2015, 10:00 am
    Post #135 - November 16th, 2015, 10:00 am Post #135 - November 16th, 2015, 10:00 am
    Sweet Willie wrote:I had arrived just after 5pm on a Saturday and the restaurant was really starting to fill up. First available reservation was at 9pm. I luckily grabbed the last 4 top in the bar area (bar area & the tables in the bar area are first come first serve).

    Which location?

    We were at Champaign this past Saturday but it was Dads' Weekend, so one of the 3 busiest days of their year and thus, even more packed than a typical Saturday. That said, service was very good. It was curious that there were many open tables while people stood waiting in the bar and near the host stand. I'm guessing this is because they knew their limits, which were below the actual capacity of the restaurant but I'm really not sure.

    The highlights for me were a series of 4-ounce-pours of various brews, including a couple of sours:

    St. Dekkera Series: Sour Strawberry Blonde
    Wild Sour Series: Counter Clockweisse

    Also had a pour off the cask:

    Cask: Belgian Pale Ale with Pomegranate

    What I really like about their brews is the funkiness and the lack of sweetness in the fruited expressions. They're not on a world-class level but all-in-all, very respectable.

    As for the food . . . did I mention how much I liked the beers? :D

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #136 - November 16th, 2015, 1:16 pm
    Post #136 - November 16th, 2015, 1:16 pm Post #136 - November 16th, 2015, 1:16 pm
    Hey jimswside, thanks for all the posts for the Bloomington-Normal area. I had to go to St. Louis last weekend and stopped at Green Gables on the way back, I agree, it's a great burger. There's so much good stuff out there, I really appreciate being able to read this thread and come up with a gem from you.
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #137 - November 16th, 2015, 1:32 pm
    Post #137 - November 16th, 2015, 1:32 pm Post #137 - November 16th, 2015, 1:32 pm
    mbh wrote:Hey jimswside, thanks for all the posts for the Bloomington-Normal area. I had to go to St. Louis last weekend and stopped at Green Gables on the way back, I agree, it's a great burger. There's so much good stuff out there, I really appreciate being able to read this thread and come up with a gem from you.


    that is really cool you went here MB.

    glad you enjoyed it, one of my favorite burgers.
  • Post #138 - November 16th, 2015, 1:39 pm
    Post #138 - November 16th, 2015, 1:39 pm Post #138 - November 16th, 2015, 1:39 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    Sweet Willie wrote:I had arrived just after 5pm on a Saturday and the restaurant was really starting to fill up. First available reservation was at 9pm. I luckily grabbed the last 4 top in the bar area (bar area & the tables in the bar area are first come first serve).

    Which location?
    Normal IL, thanks for prompt, I've updated original post to reflect this data point.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #139 - June 2nd, 2016, 1:19 pm
    Post #139 - June 2nd, 2016, 1:19 pm Post #139 - June 2nd, 2016, 1:19 pm
    I'm heading to St.Genevieve Mo this weekend and looking leave early and stop for breakfast around Bloomington Normal. I've read through the thread and wondered if there were any new recommendations. Several places mentioned upthread have closed so at this point I'm probably going to either Shannon's 5 star or Kelly's.
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #140 - November 19th, 2019, 9:57 pm
    Post #140 - November 19th, 2019, 9:57 pm Post #140 - November 19th, 2019, 9:57 pm
    Hi,

    I thought I saw Tony's Tacos as a recommended location, but now I cannot find it.

    After a few days of so-so food, I stopped at Tony's Tacos for something better. Fortunately, I lucked out on pretty good spot for Mexican food.

    I was initially thinking a chile relleno dinner, but found I could have a chile relleno taco, instead. This chile relleno was bathed in crema.

    I ordered a Tostada de Ceviche de Camaron, which was generously piled high with shrimp. It was fresh and limey and delicious.

    The final selection was a Pambazo stuffed with chorizo and potato in a crispy roll with guajillo pepper sauce. Oh man this was really terrific, though I eventually ate the crispier bread and ditched the softer.

    After a few days of heavy appetizers for dinner, this was a welcome change. I would come back happily.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    Tony's Tacos
    304 N. Main St.
    Normal, IL 61761
    309-585-1332
    http://www.tonystacosbn.com/
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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