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Starved Rock

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  • m'th'su Oct 8, 2003 09:32 AM
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Can anyone reccomend anything interesting to eat in the vicinity of Starved Rock State Park in Illinois. That's near the junction of US 30 and US 80 around Ottawa, Lasalle, Peru, Spring Valley, and Streator.
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  1. I haven't yet gotten to a place in LaSalle called something like the Uptown Grill, but people who have say it's good and surprisingly sophisticated, with items like smoked duck taco appetizers. Also in LaSalle is the Red Door, sister to the Rockwell Inn in Morris, which means dishes like orange roughy stuffed with crabmeat in a Victorian setting. The family that owns these two restaurants also operates R Place, the truck stop at Int. 80 and Rt. 47 which has better food than one usually gets within sight of gas pumps and has cool features like antique toys on the walls and in the tables by the west windows; two gift shops, one for truckers and one for civilians; and a Trucker's Only section where anyone who eats all of a giant hamburger gets his or her picture on the wall. On Rt. 6 in Marseilles is Johnny's, a downhome place good for fried chicken, catfish, and other Illinois River Valley staples. The drive on 6 from Ottawa to Marseilles is one of my favorites. In Ottawa is Monte's on the Fox River, which I can recommend only if you want a retro supper club meal of, say, a double pork chop the size of a catcher's mitt. I always want to like the dining room in the Starved Rock Lodge, but the food has been pedestrian every time I've eaten there. Across the river from Starved Rock is Utica, home of Duffy's Tavern; some like their chili, and maybe they'll have burgoo, a local historical specialty. North of Int. 80 in Amboy is Ripp's. People line up outside this tavern to eat the fried chicken, which is served without silverware. Have fun; report back, if you can.

    1. I haven't yet gotten to a place in LaSalle called something like the Uptown Grill, but people who have say it's good and surprisingly sophisticated, with items like smoked duck taco appetizers. Also in LaSalle is the Red Door, sister to the Rockwell Inn in Morris, which means dishes like orange roughy stuffed with crabmeat in a Victorian setting. The family that owns these two restaurants also operates R Place, the truck stop at Int. 80 and Rt. 47 which has better food than one usually gets within sight of gas pumps and has cool features like antique toys on the walls and in the tables by the west windows; two gift shops, one for truckers and one for civilians; and a Trucker's Only section where anyone who eats all of a giant hamburger gets his or her picture on the wall. On Rt. 6 in Marseilles is Johnny's, a downhome place good for fried chicken, catfish, and other Illinois River Valley staples. The drive on 6 from Ottawa to Marseilles is one of my favorites. In Ottawa is Monte's on the Fox River, which I can recommend only if you want a retro supper club meal of, say, a double pork chop the size of a catcher's mitt. I always want to like the dining room in the Starved Rock Lodge, but the food has been pedestrian every time I've eaten there. Across the river from Starved Rock is Utica, home of Duffy's Tavern; some like their chili, and maybe they'll have burgoo, a local historical specialty. North of Int. 80 in Amboy is Ripp's. People line up outside this tavern to eat the fried chicken, which is served without silverware. Have fun; report back, if you can.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mugs

        Enjoyed a well prepared Italian meal at Monte's in Ottawa, Illinois. Well worth the visit if you are in the area. The group tried grilled beef tenderloin, italian sausage, fettucini alfredo and veal parmesan. Classic dishes well prepared, and portions... well, its the mid-west you know. The kitchen was hitting on all cylinders this evening.

        Decor is dark. The wine list is limited, the bottom end over-priced but the upper end presented some real bargains... which we could not resist.

      2. l
        LikestoEatout

        Both Red Door and Rockwell Inn are pretty good though I like Rockwell better because of the decor and the neat old bar. I like Ron's Cajun Connection on US Rte 6 in Utica, near the Starved Rock exit off I-80. I like the crawfish etouffe, just about everything we have tried, we have liked. (gumbo, boudin, catfish, jambalya, shrimp creole)

        1. That area has an abundance of we people of Italian descent (I grew up in the general vicinity). Consequently, most of the Italian restaurants are Mom and Pop joints that have been around for generations.

          When I was home over the 4th of July went to a newer place in LaSalle called Amici's (sp?). It has a great atmosphere and decent food.

          Garzanelli's in Ogelsby has good chicken, pasta, pizza and appetizer. I haven't been in years but it's still my parents favorite. Mid-range prices.

          Verucci's (sp?) in Spring Valley is another family favorite.

          Higher end in La Salle - Stage Door, Red Door and Uptown are perennial favorites.

          While I've never been to Monte's in Ottawa, it's suppose to be fantastic.

          La Salle/Peru - great little diner type place called The Igloo. It has been around for eons. They have fantastic pork tenderloins.