Green Gables

Grocery Store | Hamburgers | Small Town Café | Tavern
Memorable
One of the best
Save

Central Illinois hamburgers demand special attention. They hit the grill as spheres of beef and get spatula-smashed flat so their edges turn crisp and lacy as they cook. They’re plenty fatty and stay juicy however much they are pressed, but they are thin enough that a double makes good sense. Preferably a double with cheese, and with pickle, tomato, onion, ketchup, and mustard. So it is at Green Gables at the shore of Lake Bloomington. Each burger is presented swaddled in paper so that the whole package has quickly steamed into a great mound of savory goodness by the time it’s unwrapped. What a fine handful of food!

Sides are OK: deep fried cheese balls, deep fried corn nuggets, deep fried mozzarella sticks, cauliflower, onion rings, etc. The Italian beef sandwich we sampled was no big deal. It’s the burgers that put Green Gables on the Roadfood map.

The burgers … and the place itself. It is an absolutely hypnotic kaleidoscope of culinary genres: a dark tavern with a pool table up front, a brightly-lit grocery in back (with shelves of products marshalled like they’re in a museum of contemporary Jell-O packages and detergent bottles), a liquor store, a town meeting place and also a bait shop, with a hyperbolic menu that tells customers they are in the “resort capital of the world” and they are about to experience “the best food known to man.”

 

What to Eat
Green Gables, Double Cheeseburger
Double Cheeseburger
Must-Try
Double Cheesebuger with the works
Green Gables, Cheddar Cheese Balls
Cheddar Cheese Balls
Cheddar cheese balls for munching
Green Gables, Fried Corn Nuggets
Fried Corn Nuggets
Corn nuggets, one of many fried burger companions on the menu
Green Gables, Italian Beef
Italian Beef
Italian beef without au jus
Green Gables, Au Jus
Au Jus
Au jus for the beef
Directions and Hours
Roadtrips
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
12 stops | 420 MILES | 7 hr 37 min

In 1946, when Bobby and Cynthia Troup drove their Buick convertible from the East to the West coast in hopes of finding a future writing songs, Cynthia suggested to Bobby that he write one about Route 40. But Bobby found Route 40 boring. When they got to Illinois and hit Route 66, something clicked. Bobby…

21 stops | 2213 MILES | 34 hr 19 min

What a yummy trip it is to eat one's way from Chicago to L.A. along old Route 66! This tour of 21 excellent stops along the way includes some that are directly on the old road as well as a few that are worthy short detours. None require a reservation, all are easy on the…

Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
No
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Verucchi’s

    Spring Valley, Illinois

    Verucchi’s is an Illinois River Valley supper club serving Italian-American classics as well as fine Italian fried chicken with the local-favorite pasta, ravs.

  • Smitty’s Tap

    Tonica, Illinois

    In the crossroads town of Leonore, Illinois, Smitty’s Tap is the place locals go for gigantic tenderloin sandwiches, broasted chicken, and $2 cans of beer.

  • Igloo

    Peru, Illinois

    Specialty of the house at the Illinois Igloo: a crisp-fried tenderloin sandwich, known as a pork. Double pork (two cutlets in a bun) is magnificent.

  • Shannon’s Five Star

    Bloomington, Illinois

    A large, friendly diner / coffee shop along old Route 66 in Illinois, Shannon’s is a place for hearty breakfast, lunch, and dinner with truck-stop ambience.

  • Jubilee Cafe

    Edwards, Illinois

    For fried chicken, twice-baked potato casserole, three-bean casserole, and pie, Jubilee Cafe is an out-of-the-way gem near Peoria, Illinois.