Taste of the Prairie

Babe’s on Plum Storefront

Babe’s on Plum

Located just three blocks from the Illinois River in Havana’s historic downtown, Babe’s on Plum welcomes locals, visitors and boaters alike to enjoy its upscale bar food. According to Kelli Schaeffer, who owns the restaurant with her husband Todd, the restaurant originally opened in 1997 at a different location as a bar called Babe’s, owned […]

Crazy Joe's Fish House

Crazy Joe’s Fish House

The outskirts of Ava, population 600, may not be the first place a person thinks of for a destination dining experience. But it is somewhere to consider if fried seafood, smoked brisket and barbecue in a friendly, down-home atmosphere is an appeal. Crazy Joe’s Fish Shack, owned by Robert “Rabbit” Martin, is located a couple […]

Free Press Interior

Free Press Coffee House/Wm. Watson Hotel & Cafe

In 2006, Jane Ann and Jonas Petty purchased the historic Mansion House, originally built in Pittsfield in 1838. What began as a restoration/renovation of the historic hotel evolved into much more. The Pettys spent more than two years restoring the William Watson Hotel and originally planned to put a bar next door, but the best […]


The Greathouse of Pizza

According to The Greathouse of Pizza (GHOP) owner Trent Groothuis, a picture is worth a thousand words, and pictures of pizza are worth more than 17,000 Facebook followers. For the restaurant’s single location in Casey, Ill., a town of 2,700, he says that’s “pretty incredible.” Although Trent opened the business in 2008, his background in […]

Polar Whip, Energy, IL

Nesler’s Polar Whip

For the past nine decades, Nesler’s Polar Whip has been a local fast food favorite in southern Illinois providing burgers, sandwiches, ice cream and more at affordable prices. You can get a burger with mustard, onions and pickles for just $1, and that’s after a recent price increase. A cheeseburger will cost you $1.25, and […]

Fritz and Frites Interior

Fritz and Frites

Walking into this unassuming restaurant at the north end of Galena’s Main Street is like stepping into a French bistro. French music plays in the background as servers in black vests, white shirts and black aprons move from table to table with plates of German and French food. Alsatian food to be exact – dishes […]


Cozy Dog Drive In

With many stops along the road for Cozy Dog Drive In, the local favorite’s journey began in a USO kitchen on the Amarillo Air Force Base in Texas in the 1940s. Route 66 passed by the base years before Cozy Dog would become a point of nostalgia on the historic highway in Illinois. It was […]


Destihl Restaurant & Brew Works

In a town with many restaurants to choose from, Destihl Restaurant & Brew Works has become a standout—and not just for its award-winning beer. According to General Manager Christopher Gee, the creative amalgamation of food and beer is what makes the place unique. “There are other small breweries that have popped up around town, but […]

Big Bills Exterior

Big Bill’s Sandwich Shop and Coffee Bar

What do you get when you mix an 18-year-old with big ideas, no experience and a passion to succeed in the restaurant business? The answer is Big Bill’s Sandwich Shop and Coffee Bar in Galena. Jack Dieter, the aforementioned go-getter, now 23, had a dream in college to open a restaurant. He studied entrepreneurship and […]

Incredibly Delicious

Incredibly Delicious

What are the ingredients needed to create a recipe for success? For Patrick Groth, it was 500 pounds of chocolate, the desire to sell a flawless flourless chocolate cake and a home stove that just couldn’t keep up. “He was going to do a mail-order business. It turned out it was a lot better to […]