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Jul 12, 2009 12:08 PM

Good chow in southern Illinois?

Second leg of road trip from New Orleans to Chicago will put us in S. Illinois around lunch time. We usually do this trip in one day, eat in Memphis, and drive straight through this area. This time its two days with a stop at the Wickliffe mounds in Ky. Anyone have any ideas not too far off I-57??

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  1. Need more specifics...location, genre of food preferred, etc.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ddfry3

      We'll be coming up I-57. Not so picky about genre- we usually eat regional when traveling, but don't know exactly what that would mean in Illinois. We love ethnic eateries, hole-in-the-wall, etc. What is regional to southern Illinois? Home-cooking? Small town diner?

      1. re: roxanne207

        If you like locally sourced (their garden is in full swing) , well prepared food, here is a search that will help you.

    2. Yes, I travel that area and I would suggest stopping at Mt. Vernon at the Cracker Barell which is right off I 57 on the west side...or a more home town Effingham where I 57 & 70 cross...get off on the Teutopolis Exit and go to the East...Niemerg's Restaurant is on the North side of Wabash...They have plate lunches at a reasonable cost...or they have a salad bar that is fresh...what ever you eat...sample the pies...I would only eat pie...coconut creme is the best IMO...or the Fire Fly restaurant for a little more upscale food which is at the Keller Drive Exit. Chicken at Niemerg's for lunch and then take pie with you...can't beat that...and at Champaign go to the Original Pancake House just to the East of the U of I exit....have a spinach salad or any breakfast item is good...strong coffee...EWW

      1. Some suggestions:

        Marion exit: 17th Street Bar and Grill. Mike Mills is a 3 time winner of the Memphis in May BBQ cook off. His original location in Murphysboro has more character but the food at the Marion restaurant is good too.

        Also at Marion exit, head west to Herrin. Louie's P & R. Italian deli. All kinds of sandwiches and salads.

        West Frankfort exit: Mike's Drive In. Car hops and all. A throwback to the old A&W type drive ins. I like the pork tenderloin sandwich here...also the onion rings. And, of course, root beer in a mug.

        Benton exit: Go west on Illinois 14 a few miles to Christopher to the Maid Rite Cafe. "Loose meat" sandwiches and good pie.

        Ina exit. Uncle Joe's BBQ.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JoeyH

          BBQ and Drive Inns... must save this post for future. Well done!

          Maid Rite... my father used to LOVE that place. Can someone please explain the allure of loose ground beef (think taco meat before you add seasoning) on a bun? I never saw it as a child, and frankly, still don't see it today! :)


        2. Thank-you, that was exactly what I was looking for!

          1. Juts a few additions to some already good recommendations:
            Walt's Pizza in Marion
            Larry's Pit BBQ in Christopher
            608 N Victor St
            Christopher, IL 62822-1033
            (618) 724-7115‎

            There is a small diner right close to the Wickliffe Mounds. Ussed to be called Chris's but the name changed recently. Great lunch specials including Harpers Country hams and Harpers quail.
            In Cairo, the old Veach station truck stop located at Rte 3 and Rte 37 is a good one for plate lunches as well. The owners wife makes a rocking cornbread dressing to go with her pork loin or turkey on Sundays.