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A Week in Decatur, IL??

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My partner has to spend a week in Decatur becoming certified as a police chief. I'm looking for food spot recs for him as his sole chowhound buddy. He's a pretty casual guy that appreciates all good chow. Any suggestions?

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  1. Don't know much about Decatur, and I assume that there isn't much there based on size of town and its prximity to Champaign. I would say to venture foth to Champaign and check out all those restaurants listed there. There is a huge culinary experience going on in downtown Champaign that is amazing.

    1. Big D wrote:
      My partner has to spend a week in Decatur becoming certified as a police chief. I'm looking for food spot recs for him as his sole chowhound buddy. He's a pretty casual guy that appreciates all good chow. Any suggestions?

      **
      Don't really know what you're looking for. I'm certain Decatur has more than its fair share of Applebee's and their look-alikes. I tend to search out the more off-the-beaten-path places which don't usually make it into the guidebooks.

      Also, it has been almost three years since I was around the area, but current web phone services confirm these are still around. BTW, I understand that the Krekels (listed below) may be in the midst of some family dispute, so no call there.

      If you get feedback, post and let us know.

      ILLINOIS
      Decatur

      Bakery Coffee House & Cafe (aka The Bakery Coffeehouse Cafe) - 104 E. Prairie Ave, Decatur, IL 62523 (N. Main St) - 217/422-4444 - Bakery and cafe serving traditional breakfasts, pastries, coffee and tea drinks - Small family run place with friendly service and limited seating - Since ~1963 - No smoking - Casual - Eat in, takeaway or local delivery - No res - $-$$, credit cards - M-Sat B&L

      Krekel's Custard (aka Krekel's Custard & Hamburgers) - Locations: 801 E. Wood St, Decatur, IL 62521 (S. Hilton St, downtown), 217/429-1122; 1355 SR 48 N, Decatur, IL 62521, 217/362-0121 - American fast foods with old-fashioned housemade chili, thin hamburger or cheeseburger on toasted bun wrapped in waxed paper, breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, breaded chicken sandwich, fish sandwich, fries, onion rings, real milkshakes and malts, floats, ice cream - Order at outdoor window or indoor counter - Locally owned and operated - Indoor and outdoor picnic seating - Casual - Eat in or takeaway - $, cash only - 7d L&D>1030-2200h

      Krekel's Dairy Maid - 2320 E. Main St, Decatur, IL 62521 (at US 36) - 217/423-1719 - American fast foods with old-fashioned housemade chili, thin hamburger or cheeseburger on toasted bun wrapped in waxed paper, breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, breaded chicken sandwich, fish sandwich, fries, onion rings, real milkshakes and malts, floats, ice cream - Order at outdoor window or indoor counter - Signature converted 1970's Cadillac Chickenmobile with rooster tail and 6' red-eyed head - Locally owned and operated - Since the 1950's - Indoor and outdoor picnic seating - Casual - Eat in or takeaway - $, cash only - 7d L&D>1030-2200h

      Paul's Confectionery - 999 N. Water St, Decatur, IL 62523 (on Bus US 51 near E. Marietta St) - 217/428-6665 - Sandwich shop serving family recipe chili and chili mac, burgers and sandwiches, large milkshakes and malts, fountain drinks, ice cream - Nostalgic atmosphere - Since 1923 - Casual - $, cash only - Tu-F BLD>07-1900h, Sat B&L>07-1700h

      Robbies (aka Robbies Outlet aka Robbie's Bar & Grill) - 122 N. Merchant St, Decatur, IL 62523 (just E of S. Main St, bet E. Main St and E. Prairie Ave) - 217/423-0448 - American serving soups and salads, Robbie burger, sandwiches, beef, chicken and seafood entrees - Beer and wine - In distinctive downtown atmosphere - Casual - $$, MC/V - M-F L&D>11-2200h, Sat L>11-1500h

      Wagon (aka The Wagon) - 1987 N. Jasper St, Decatur, IL 62526 (E. Garfield Ave) - 217/429-2260 - Bar serving appetizers, burgers, fried chicken, steaks, fried walleye (F) - Full bar - Casual - $$, credit cards - M-Th L&D>11-0100h, F-Sat L&D>11-0200h

      Wharf - 201 W. 1st Dr, Decatur, IL 62521 (S. Franklin St) - 217/423-5450 - American bar and grill serving juicy burger, sandwiches, good fries, cold beer - Dimly lit and comfortable place with downhome atmosphere - Casual - Eat in or takeaway - $-$$, cash only - 7d L&D

      1. I'm too late to answer for your partner's trip, but having grown up in Decatur (and seeing that no one who lives/lived there responded), I thought I'd reply for anyone who does an archives search for Decatur for future trips.

        Decatur is not where you go for haute cuisine for the most part, but there are a handful of great spots. And if you aren't looking for fancy, there are some good finds there. Ideas:

        Robbies on Merchant street (downtown) is very good quality, sort of bistro like, small cozy spot with exposed brick and one row of tables and a nice bar. Very good ingredients, nothing flashy but great food you'd agree was great in a big city. There is a steakhouse, Porter's, also on Merchant which is good too.

        Bizou is probably the best restaurant in Decatur. See the review in this link: http://www.10best.com/Decatur/Restaur... The list here is incomplete, and Carlos should not be on it, but these are a good start. Especially Krekels! The burgers are perfect, a crispy yet still juicy perfection, and get the lemon soft serve with sprinkles. Sounds wierd, but there's nothing like it and you won't regret it.

        THere are actually some decent Mexican restaurants in Decatur now, nothing to shake a stick at at all (and I'm comparing that to what I get in LA).

        And if you want pizza, try Del Carmens or Monicals. Monicals is typical Chicago thin crust and has the most wonderful fresh sausage. Del Carmens has the best pizza sauce I've ever had. Spicy and sweet and a perfect think crisp crust.

        If I think of more, I'll add them

        1. One more thing.

          On the list already posted, I can vouch for the Wagon and Paul's Chili, in addition to the ones I mentioned. Both worth a trip for sure. At Paul's, order a green river with your chili. The wagon is known for fried catfish, among other things.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ksmurphy

            I used to know this amazing jazz sax player kmurphy in decatur ...

            Found this thread looking for a recipe for Monical's pizza crust .. oh well. The places in Dtown I miss:

            1) Elams pork tenderloins sandwich + root beer (RIP)
            2) Pauls
            3) Del Carmens double pepperoni
            4) Monicals
            5) La Gondola (still around?)
            6) Winery (burger)
            7) Krekels
            8) Stonington Inn (horseshoe sandwich)