Smitty’s Tap

Chicken Dinner | Tavern
excellent
Worth a detour
Save

While exploring the Illinois River Valley’s favorite meal of chicken & ravs, I was directed to the tiny LaSalle County town of Leonore and a friendly crossroads tavern called Smitty’s Tap. However, it was Thursday, so I was out of luck. Smitty’s serves its chicken, which is broasted, only Wednesday and Friday nights. Thursday is wing night; and on Friday, it’s all-you-can-eat cod & walleye (or a broasted pork chop)

It turned out to be a Roadfood-worthy stop anyway, because Smitty’s offers breaded pork tenderloin (BPT) every day. And oh, what a tenderloin: well over a foot across, piled with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles; and sandwiched – if sandwiched is the right word for it – in a ridiculously little-looking (but actually normal-sized) burger bun. It is listed on the menu as “Smitty’s Prize Tenderloin… Big enough for two!” At under $7 for what might be the broadest BPT in the cornbelt, it’s an amazing bargain.

The pounded-thin pork is sweet and moist, its crust a bland halo of crunch. For most folks, it is knife-and-fork food, but the waitress assured me that proficient tenderloin eaters manage to fold the cutlet over on itself a few times so they can hoist it off the iron skillet in which it is served, using the bun in a normal way. Don’t tell anyone, but I resorted to picking up the cutlet with my hands, leaving the bun behind, and gnawing on it like it was some huge hunk of fair food.

What to Eat
Smitty’s Tap, Tenderloin
Tenderloin
Must-Try
Buffetbuster photographed this tenderloin "sandwich" in summer, 2018
Smitty’s Tap, Grilled Ham & Cheese
Grilled Ham & Cheese
Must-Try
Of grilled ham (& cheese), Gregg Pill noted, "not store bought slices but rough-cut, uneven pieces. Tender, juicy and flavorful."
Smitty’s Tap, Pepperjack Mac & Cheese Bites
Pepperjack Mac & Cheese Bites
Pepperjack mac 'n' cheese bites are hot & creamy.
Smitty’s Tap, French Fries
French Fries
French fries are fine but not memorable.
Directions and Hours
Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
Yes

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