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Feb 11, 2004 04:15 PM

Any Illinois travellers know of great local food in the Quad Cities area?

  • n

I know it's not part of Chicago metro, but I'm hoping some of you Chicago folk make it out to the River now and then.

I'm a descendant of Rock Islanders but haven't been there in awhile and am about to pay a visit. I'd be grateful for any suggestions of places to eat that serve quality local fare. I don't need fancy stuff (I live in New York and get plenty of that) - just good food. As an example of what I'm looking for, my favorite restaurant in the area used to by Ry's Star Sandwich shop (formerly Fagan's) which made some of the best burgers I've ever had anywhere. I also used to love the catfish at Ben's Gourmet House. I understand both establishments have closed now, but I'm hoping that other local stars have taken their places.

Thanks, all, for any tips.

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  1. My in-laws live in the Quad Cities and to me, the best place to go while out there is to the Belgian Village in Moline. They make amazing sandwiches on their home-made bread (you gotta get a VandeRueben ~ Rueben on homemade raisin bread). It sounds strange but all of their sandwiches are fantastic (and gigantic for that matter). Interesting article over here ->

    A must-stop for me.. Then get some Whitey's Ice Cream for dessert. :
    Belgian Village
    560 17th Ave.
    Moline, IL


    6 Replies
    1. re: west side

      I agree. I went to school in the QC and Belgian Village is really nice and the sandwhiches really are gigantic. Jim's Rib Haven is darn good too. Other than that? In the past 10 years the area has taken on the look more and more of a Chicago suburb (especially northern Davenport). Lots of new strip malls and big chain places like Chili's. There are also several new brew-pub type places that serve decent bar food in Rock Island and Moline. I found while in school that, sadly, there just aren't too many great finds out there. And I'm not being too harsh. Every year Olive Garden wins newspaper polls for best Italian. It's that kind of area.

      1. re: CMC

        When traveling in the vicinity we used to come off the highway at, could have been Davenport or Moline, to eat at a cafeteria that might have been called Bishop's. Very home-cooked-style food, incredibly low prices, wonderful, tasted like Sunday dinner at Grandma's house. Does anybody know whether such a place still exists? Bishop's? Somehow connected with Furr's Familly Dining cafeteria chain?

        1. re: N Tocus

          You're correct. Bishop's went bankrupt (sometime in the 90's, I believe) and was acquired by Furr's. Furr's has since gone bankrupt and reorganized. I believe that Bishop's quality declined after they were acquired by Furr's, but others may disagree.

          Dave R

          1. re: N Tocus

            We used to eat at Bishop's in downtown Davenport all the time when I was a kid (I'm 50). We'd go after Saturday shopping in downtown Davenport at the Peterson Harned von Maur and McCabe's department was always the highlight of our shopping trips (we lived just south of the QC).

            Sadly, all of the above are distant memories. I remember reading somewhere that that particular Bishop's closed in the 80's. It (and the downtowns of Moline, Rock Island, and Davenport) was a victim of the Northpark and Southpark Malls that opened in the early 70's and the horrible economic decline that the Quad Cities suffered in the 70's - 80's...also changing tastes - cafeterias now survive mainly in the South these days....

            I also remember Sunday dinners at a big downtown hotel in Davenport, I think it was the Blackhawk Hotel (wasn't the LeClaire Hotel in downtown Moline? Maybe I am confusing them...). Very fancy for the time. We dressed up (it was after church, natch).

            A bit further south on the river, we'd also go for Sunday dinner at the Burlington Hotel in Burlington IA.

            Ah, to go back 35 or 40 years again!


          2. re: CMC

            My grandparents lived in Rock Island while I was growing up, and my younger brother just graduated from Augustana. While I generally agree with your comments about the Quad Cities, there is a decent brewpub with good food in the "district" area of Rock Island called Blue Cat, and also a nice brewpub across the river in Davenport (the name escapes me). Additionally, there is a place called Johnny's Steakhouse that is surprisingly good for a Quad Cities restaurant. It is located near the John Deere tractor exhibit across from the Radisson, in the space that formerly had been a restaurant called Planted Earth Cafe.

            Separately, I saw some posts mentioning Bishop's, and I remember that as being one of my grandpa's favorite places when he was alive back in the '70s and '80s.

          3. re: west side

            THe Vanereuben was great. I had it today. I got the full sandwich, which is HUGE, the equivalent of two sandwiches, I still was able to finish it. I had a friend who got the pork tenderloin sandwich and was not happy with it, but my group loved their food. We got a Vandereuben, a turkey reuben and a tuna sandwich. In addition my 16 month old daughter got a frilled fish sandwich and LOVED it. This is a much in the food challenged Quad CIties.

          4. It's been a few years, but I've always enjoyed Jim's Rib Haven for bbq ribs etc.


            1. Hi,

              I would visit the local Maid Right loose meat sandwich shop.



              1. We used to regularly visit friends who lived on a farm with Davenport city limits, south edge of town. They used to take us to a local bar on the river near there that had good whole fried catfish. Picnic tables inside your basic bar, but the catfish was tasty.

                Sorry I can't give more specific instructions. They lived on the road that goes down to Muscatine, past Scotty's Auction House. The place was near there.

                Whitey's is definitely a must-have. Be sure to take a look at the giant heads on the campus of the college of chiropracty:-)

                1. I had the best Swordfish and an overall great time at The Dock in Davenport.