2017 Best of Illinois Winners

The Illinois Country Living Magazine staff thanks everyone who submitted entries to the 2017 Best of Illinois Reader’s Choice Contest. We received online and mail-in ballots nominating top honorees in the Northern, Central and Southern regions. Here we proudly identify the deserving winners of each category.



Route 66 Restaurant

Central: Cozy Dog, Springfield
Southern: 17th Street BBQ, Murphysboro
Northern: Old 66 Family Restaurant, Dwight

Candy/Chocolate Shop

Central: Flesor’s Candy Kitchen, Tuscola
Southern: The Chocolate Factory, Golconda
Northern: Lagomarcino’s Confectionery, Moline

Home/Country Cooking

Central: Yoder’s Kitchen, Arthur
Southern: Goddard’s Barn & Grill, Anna
Northern: PJ’s Restaurant, Erie

Milkshake/Ice Cream

Central: Carl’s Ice Cream, Bloomington
Southern: Likkits Ice Cream, Cobden
Northern: Dairyhaus, Rockton

Food Festivals

Central: Blues, Brews & BBQ, Champaign
Southern: Shrimp Festival, Golconda
Northern: Taste of Chicago, Chicago


Central: Pauley’s BBQ, Arthur
Southern: 17th Street BBQ, Murphysboro


Central: Alfonso’s, Carrollton
Southern: Pizza Villa, Anna
Northern: Lou Malnatti’s, Lincolnwood


Central: Mel’s Riverdock, Hardin
Southern: Davis Pastry Shop, Anna
Northern: Bennison’s Bakery, Evanston


Central: Pit Stop, Kampsville
Southern: Fat Patties, Carbondale
Northern: Barrel House, Moline

Destination and Recrecation

Agritourism/Pick-Your-Own Farm

Central: Rader Family Farms, Normal
Southern: Eckert’s Orchard, Belleville
Northern: Plow Creek Farm, Tiskilwa

Fishing Spot

Central: The McCully Heritage Project, Kampsville
Southern: Rend Lake, Benton
Northern: Snakeden Hollow, Victoria

Golf Course

Central: Stone Creek Golf Club, Urbana
Southern: Kokopelli Golf Club, Marion
Northern: Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, Galena

State Park

Central: Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton
Southern: Giant City State Park, Makanda
Northern: Starved Rock State Park, Oglesby


Central: McCully Heritage Project, Kampsville
Southern: Crab Orchard Campground, Carbondale
Northern: Mendota Hills Campground, Amboy

Bed & Breakfast

Central: Green Gables Inn, White Hall
Southern: Rose Hotel, Elizabethtown
Northern: Farmer’s Guest House, Galena

Sporting Event

Central: Peoria Civic Center, IHSA Basketball Tournament, Peoria
Southern: Rent One Park, Miners Basketball, Marion
Northern: Wrigley Field, Chicago

The Arts


Central: Center for American Archeology, Kampsville
Southern: Cobden Museum, Cobden
Northern: Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Performing Arts/Venue

Central: Calhoun Entertainment Co., Calhoun
Southern: Marion Cultural & Civic Center, Marion
Northern: Coronado Performing Arts Center, Rockford

Art Gallery

Central: David Stawn Art Gallery, Jacksonville
Southern: Anthill Gallery & Vintage Curiosities, Cobden
Northern: The Art Intitute of Chicago, Chicago


Place to Take the Kids

Central: The McCully Heritage Project, Kampsville
Southern: Garden of the Gods – Shawnee National Forest, Harrisburg
Northern: Chestnut Mountain, Galena

Scenic Drive

Central: Spoon River Drive, Canton
Southern: Great River Road, Macomb
Northern: Illinois Route 84

Weekend Get-A-Way

Central: The McCully Heritage Project, Kampsville
Southern: Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, Jonesboro
Northern: Galena Area, Galena


Antique Store

Central: Paddy Wagon Antiques, Tuscola
Southern: Countree Peddler, Goreville
Northern: Rubies n’ Rust, Rockton

Farmer’s Market

Central: Bloomington Farmers’ Market, Bloomington
Southern: Carbondale Community Farmers’ Market, Carbondale
Northern: Galena Farmers’ Market, Galena

Flea Market

Central: Third Sunday Market, Bloomington
Southern: Fox’s Fleas, Carbondale
Northern: 3 French Hens, Morris


County/Regional Fair

Central: McLean County Fair, Bloomington
Southern: DuQuoin State Fair, DuQuoin
Northern: Boone County Fairgrounds, Belvidere


Central: Old Settlers Day, Kampsville
Southern: Apple Festival, Murphysboro
Northern: Art Fest, Stockton

Craft Show

Central: Calhoun Art Guild Craft Show, Calhoun
Southern: Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, Mt. Vernon
Northern: River Ridge Craft Fair, Hanover


Winner of $100 Gift Cards

Congratulations to Margo Brooks, member of Jo-Carroll Energy; Barbara Webster, member of Norris Electric Cooperative; and Peggy Henson, member of Egyptian Electric, for winning the $100 Gift Cards for entering the Best of Illinois contest. Keep watching the magazine and our website for the next contest. You could be our next winner!

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