Everyone has their go-to eateries. From hometown favorites to those places you’ll drive miles for, these 10 relatively unknown restaurants are Illinois’ best-kept secrets.
Next time you’re looking for a new favorite place to eat, check out one of these top-notch diners. Keep scrolling for all the details.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Gallatin Street Grille (524 W Gallatin Street in Vandalia)
This down-home family restaurant has been serving up diner classics since 1996. Menu items include a plethora of appetizers like crab cakes and potato skins as well as entrees like pasta, pork chops, steak, and seafood. Stop in for lunch or dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
2. Serena Cafe (2274 East US Route 52 in Serena)
Though it has only been a restaurant since 1938, the building has been around since the 1800s. It is a breakfast, lunch, and dinner place that offers American staples like burgers, salads, beef dishes, and brunch items. They are also known for their homemade pies, muffins, and cinnamon rolls.
3. Pinecricker Cafe (124 E Mason Street in Polo)
This comfort food joint is known for its prime rib, Taco Tuesday nights, and other American classics. You'll also find all your favorite beers, delicious cocktails, and irresistible baked goods for before and after the meal. Fun indoor and outdoor seating make this one unknown restaurant in Illinois you'll want to get very acquainted with.
4. Kelly's (218 Locust Street in Sterling)
Get lunch or dinner at this Irish bar that specializes in pub favorites and Mexican fare. They have the best margaritas in the state and have been feeding locals since 1952. Menu items include pizza, burritos, wings, seafood, and more.
5. Bull Moose Bar & Grille (202 S Main Street in Sandwich)
One of the most unknown restaurants in the state, this local watering hole utilizes fresh, quality ingredients in all its cuisine. Founded in 2011, it is open for lunch and dinner and serves great burgers, sandwiches, flatbreads, salads, desserts, and more.
6. Sherry's Cafe (20 Chester Street in Galva)
Enjoy lovely indoor or outdoor seating at this unique eatery. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday through Saturday, while Sunday is just brunch hours. Patrons enjoy Mexican favorites as well as wraps, chicken, and seafood dishes. Pies, cinnamon buns, and other sweets are also available.
7. Jessica's Restaurant (5091 Edgemere Court in Roscoe)
Since 1984, this family-operated, lesser-known eatery has been a favorite to those in town. You can get just about any breakfast, lunch, or dinner dish you could possibly desire including pasta, steak and seafood, paninis, burgers, and much more.
8. Ned's Shed (101 N 1st Street in Vienna)
Southern Illinoisans have been craving this delicious food for decades. Ned's Shed has the best burgers in the area, and possibly even the state. Other menu items include wings, nachos, BBQ, pies, and more.
9. The Rafters (9426 W Wagner Road in Lena)
Open daily for lunch and dinner, this farm-style restaurant is a treat for locals near and far. It serves a plethora of amazing meals like pasta, steak, seafood, chicken, burgers, sandwiches, and much more.
10. Billy Bob and Nina's Restaurant (514 Plainview Street in Enfield)
This remote restaurant opened in 2003 and serves a plethora of good eats. Seafood lovers especially will be pleased with the crab and fish options. Enjoy a family-friendly atmosphere at this delicious place.
Which of these unknown restaurants have you been to before? Share your favorites with us!