In this land of boundless cornfields, crunch-crusted fried chicken is a magnificent obsession in restaurants plain and fancy. Locals sometimes call it tavern fried chicken because nearly every restaurant that serves it is a place to drink, either a pub or a supper club. Another interesting common denominator is that the chicken customarily is served with a side of “ravs,” short for ravioli, or as the locals like to say it, raviola; but unless you’re from around here, you might be surprised at what they are. Every pasta-spotter’s guide we know identifies the stuffed little ring-shaped pockets as tortellini.
Rip's is the best fried-chicken destination in the chicken-rich Illinois River Valley. Crunchies -- bits of insanely yummy fried skin and batter -- are a bonus.
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.
A remote Illinois tavern surrounded by corn fields, Wedron Office serves excellent fried chicken and bluegill. Entertainment is provided by overhead TV sets.
For fried chicken, twice-baked potato casserole, three-bean casserole, and pie, Jubilee Cafe is an out-of-the-way gem near Peoria, Illinois.