Illinois is famous for some fancy, award-winning restaurants. But some of our best food comes from places that are, well, far from ordinary. Read on to see pictures of some stellar food from some unique Illinois restaurants:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Blind Faith Cafe (Evanston)
Believe it or not, that's a vegetarian BBQ sandwich you're looking at. This cafe has been doing global-inspired, vegetarian food since the seventies. And it's awesome. This place will satisfy even the biggest carnivores.
2. Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket (Willowbrook)
You wouldn't think that the best fried chicken in Illinois would be in a suburb, but it is! They've been serving mouth-watering chicken on Route 66 since 1946. You have to check this place out if you haven't already.
3. Nesler's Polar Whip (Herrin)
This place might not look like much, but the flat, juicy burgers have led many a guest to eat five in a sitting.
4. Bang Bang Pie (Chicago)
It's not your mama's pie. They have some of the more traditional sweet pies. But then they have some awesome savory ones, too. Like an avocado pie. Delicious.
5. Blue Springs Cafe (Highland)
This great cafe serves some absolutely amazing pies, too. But they also serve your traditional down home fare. Everything is great.
6. BIG and little's (Chicago)
This small dive is serving up some huge flavors, like with this epic blue cheese burger. They have a few locations to meet your cravings.
7. 17th Street Barbecue (Murphysboro)
One of the nation's best barbecue places...in Illinois? Located near the very bottom of the state, 17th Street has become internationally renowned for their meats.
8. Abreo (Rockford)
This place is as sophisticated as you'd expect to find in River North, Chicago. It's a fantastic wine bar with delectable small plates. The menu changes depending on the season.
9. Gene & Jude's (Chicago)
It's not complicated. Or fancy. It's just darn good. Get your dog with fries piled on TOP.
10. Basils (Aurora)
Who knew some of the best Greek food wasn't in Greektown but was instead in a suburb? Yes, it's at Basils, a fantastic restaurant that has phenomenal Greek food perfectly paired with wines.
11. One World Cafe (Peoria)
On the outside, this place looks like a coffee shop. But they are serving up some superb food, like the sandwich pictured here. You can definitely get a baked good and coffee, but you'll be plenty satisfied if you get lunch here.
12. D'Arcy's Pint (Springfield)
If you're from Northern Illinois, chances are you don't know what a horseshoe is. Well, that's a horseshoe. You're welcome. D'Arcy's does one of the best horseshoes around these parts. But they also put out some pretty refined plates. Check them out.
13. Destihl (Champaign)
It might surprise you that one of the more inventive gastropubs in Illinois is located in downtown Champaign. As someone who has eaten most of the menu, I can attest that it's all very delicious. Brunch here is also a real treat.
14. R-Place Family Eatery (Morris)
This restaurant has been a haven for truck drivers since 1967, but it's not your usual truck stop fare. The interior of the restaurant is a little quirky, including a puppet show for children. The bakery is really the star of the show here. It's so good, people have this at their weddings.
15. Blue Sky Vineyard (Makanda)
There's a wonderful vineyard in Southern Illinois? What?! Yes, Blue Sky Vineyard offers their wines in a romantic setting. But they also serve some great food, like this dish seen here with a chocolate port sauce.
What’s your favorite place to eat in Illinois? Let us know in the comments.