Traveling Lincoln Highway through IN, IL, IA, NE - need recommendations
Would appreciate recommendations on where to eat - anything except pizza and fried food, although I must try a Maid-Ride in Iowa. The Lincoln Highway was the first coast-to-coast road in the US. Much of it is US-30 today. We drove it from NJ to Fort Wayne, IN last year and will now do the next leg. We didn't find a lot of memorable food in the eastern states, except Balyeat's Coffee Shop in Van Wert, OH.
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In Nebraska, you need to hit Ole's Big Game Bar in Paxton. The food isn't the best, it's typical Nebraska steakhouse, but it's really a Nebraska institution. Ole's has been open in one form or another since the end of Prohibition. The whole place is a tribute to the original owner's big game hunting, with different trophies everywhere. I've really never seen anything like it; it's definitely worth the stop, if only to say you've been there!
I second the Lincoln Cafe recommendation. I have yet to eat at an equal or better restaurant within 200 miles of that place (and I've been looking!). So far, it seems to be the best restaurant between Chicago and Omaha.
For recommendations in the towns where the Lincoln Highway goes through the Illinois portions of the Chicago area, I'd suggest that you ask on the Chicago board. The relevant towns would be Chicago Heights, Joliet, Aurora, Batavia, and Geneva. (I assume you know this, but the Lincoln Highway leaves US 30 just south of Aurora, goes north on Ill 31 to Ill 38, then stays on Ill 38 to Rock Falls where it again turns into US30.)
On the Indiana side of the border (which is still the Chicago area, but the Chowhound folks insist on posting about them here), there are numerous places to recommend in Dyer, Schererville, Merrillville, and Valparaiso. It all depends on how much time (and money) you want to spend.
Some of the more interesting places would be Bistro 157 and Strongbow Inn in Valparaiso, Teibel's in Schererville, and Gino's Steak House in Dyer. And there are literally dozens of restaurants in the couple miles on either side of the US30 interchange of I-65 in Merrillville. Most are chains, some are not and are quite good (eg, Gamba's).
If you make a post on the Chicago board, I'll reply with some suggestions in Batavia and Geneva...
North Aurora is on the Lincoln Highway, there is a sign posted on Rte. 31 at State Street (Rte. 56). Harner's Bakery and Cafe is just down the hill from this intersection where the bridge crosses the Fox River. Harner's as a bakery has been around Aurora in different locales for 40 or so years but in North Aurora about 25 years. It's very much like a old Wisconsin lodge, a little shabby, has a great view of the River and bike paths but inside it is warm and friendly with great food. First you must pass through the bakery and that's hard, you will see many people in the dining room with boxes of pasteries, ready to take home or a fresh, hot pastry to eat with their breakfast. Harner's is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner but breakfast is my favorite. The Harner family farms in near west Kaneville area and raises their own pigs, anything pork in the restaurant is wonderful! The first Friday of the month is a Pig Roast for dinner and always a long line! My favorite is the corned beef hash and next is the sausage patties but everything is great and you get a hearty portion.
Harner's Bakery & Restaurant
10 West State
North Aurora, Il.