I can appreciate avoiding any parts of Chicago for your drive you may want to try this route that works for me. I-57 to I-72 to I-55, then you can hit the great spots in Springfield and still avoid Chicago. There is a fabulous chicken joint in Champaign/Urbana. Apple Dumplings, they specialty of the house is great fried chicken! and the apple dumplings are wonderful. You can call for hours of operation as they can be odd.
2014 High Cross Rd
Urbana, IL 61802
Also a great drive thru is
1007 W University Ave
Phone: (217) 328-6476
They have fantastic beef sandwiches, Philly steaks and Gyros!
If you are looking for Pizza by far the best spot in town is,
Papa Del’s Pizza
206 E Green St
Champaign, IL 61820
All of these locations are not far off of I57 or I72. Good luck and Good eatin! If you try any of them let me know how you much you liked it 🙂
If you stop in Springfield the best of the best are:
Darcy’s Pint (for Springfield’s own Horseshoe sandwich OMG YUMMY!)
661 E Stanford Ave
Springfield, IL 62703
Again the Cozy Dog drive in is a must historic route 66 and the creator of the corn dog! They have limited hours of operation so call ahead to make sure they will be open.
Cozy Dog Drive in
2935 S 6th St
Springfield, IL 62703
Maid-Rite has a loose meat sandwich that is fabulous they invented it as well and have been in the same location since 1926 they have homemade rootbeer as well! They have very limited hours of operation so call ahead to make sure they are open but well worth a stop!
118 N Pasfield St
Springfield, IL 62702
We ate at the Dutch Kitchen on Main Street in Arcola several years ago. Everything was homemade and very good, especially the relishes and desserts. It’s not Amish, but they feature Amish style cooking.
I really appreciate the input and will note all suggestions. Our infrequent trips over the past 5 years have left us with a preference for the I57 (via I70) route; it often avoids meltdowns on 80/90 through Chicago, but we haven’t found a decent meal. We will try out these spots, and may or may not be back on I55 soon! Cheers! K
If you vary your route at all, ie; I-55 to I-80. Try Merichka’s in Joliet (west side on Theodore St). This detour is well worth the trip. They are known for their poorboy sandwiches and steaks. They have been discussed under the sandwiches forum and have a web site. The double baked potatoes are awesome and so are the onion rings. Family owed with 40’s / 50’s ambiance, open for lunch and dinner and reasonable. A local tradition, I went there in 1971 after the homecoming dance.
If you like Italian, stop at Frankie’s Touch of Italy in Monee IL. Take 57 to the Monee-Manhattan exit about 25 miles south of chicago. Go East into town, on route 50/54. This is definintely roadfood. A small family owned restaurant with great Pizza’s thin and crispy or thick, and fabulous italian beef sandwiches. There is also an extended menu. I believe it is only open at night though. Gee I miss it, since we no longer live in the area. The Redwood in south of Kankakee used to be a good buffet. It’s was at the Rte 52 exit (fairgrounds) just south and west on the frontage road.
Darcy’s Pint has the best horseshoe in Springfield! Also cozey dog drive in has the best corn dog ever! They were invented at the cozy dog drive inn.
In Springfield, get a Horseshoe Sandwich. I had mine at Norb Andy’s Tabarin (not a typo), but I understand several places have them.
It consists of toast, topped with meat, drenched in beer cheese sauce and covered with French fries. (a small one is known as a ponyshoe). It was invented in Springfield 80 years ago. I choose spicy chicken for the meat, but there are several meat choices.
Two great recommendations for you in Bloomington-Normal (on 39/51)…actually one in each of these twin towns.
In Bloomington, there’s the Lucca Grill, 116 E. Market (right in downtown Bloomington). This is as authentic a place as you’ll find in the land of big box chains. It’s a red sauce I-talian place, with great old school thin crust pizzas, served on little pedestal stands, with real peppers, pitchers of good beer, children running around, extended families, college students, and once in awhile, people breaking out into song.
At the other end of the food spectrum is a newish (one-year-old?) place on North St. (the main drag) in downtown Normal. It’s the Garlic Press Market Cafe, connected to a gourmet-gift store called the Garlic Press. The cafe brings in good bread from Chicago and bakes all their own cookies, cakes, scones, etc. Everything has a good foodie twist, with amazing "onion jam" on the roast beef sandwich or orange zest in the scones. Really good cheese, too. Oh, here’s a sort-of website:
If you are going I57 I have a few recommendations, if you are going I55 through Springfield I have many recommendations.
Do you mean I-55? If yes, I’ve got some hot leads for you. Please confirm and I will elaborate.
We’ll be making the drive to South Bend, IN from St. Louis frequently; any suggestions for good eating?
Good food on I 57 between St. Louis and Chicago?
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