Daniel: Welcome to Roadfood.
Are you a student at Illinois State, but whose home is in Madison, WI? I ask this because I wondered why you did such a complete section on Madison, and have nothing on Bloomington or Peoria or Springfield or even Chicago. Just here in Illinois we have the Horseshoe and Cozy Dog (Springfield); Deep Dish Pizza, Chicken Vesuvio, Italian Beef and the Chicago Dog (Chicago); and the Gondola and Art’s Tamales (Bloomington & Peoria).
A search through Roadfood’s Restaurant section as well as the Recipe section will give you a wealth of information on local favorites in all parts of the country, and is certainly a good place to start. I think you just might have a lifetime occupation on your hands.