Taste of the Prairie


The Dirty Bird Bar and Grill

East of Carthage on US Highway 136 lies a spot that locals have come to love – The Dirty Bird Bar and Grill. Its moniker is derived from a nickname used by patrons of the former Peacock Inn. According to Kyle Kirby, Dirty Bird owner and Western Illinois Electrical Coop. member, the Peacock was a […]


Revival City Doughnuts

Thoughts of opening her own bakery began years ago when Marschelle McCoy was helping at a friend’s bakery on the square in Charleston. It wasn’t until planning her 45th birthday party she found, rather than spending her hard-earned money on a spectacular celebration, she would rather revisit that idea. After praying about it, Marschelle says […]

Lost in Time, Fairbury

Support local restaurants

Three years ago, this Prairie Table column debuted in Illinois Country Living (ICL) magazine to highlight great places to eat in rural Illinois. To date, 36 restaurants have been featured in this section, and we have never taken a break from doing that since January 2018. But we are pausing now. Restaurants across Illinois are […]

NMN Club

NMN Club

In the southeast Illinois town of Flora sits a restaurant that customers come far and wide for its food and friendly staff. The building might not catch your eye, but the food will – just ask a local. Called the NMN Club, it originally opened in 1994 as a private club. Owner Bill Wiley named […]



Jodi Allen can probably credit her grandfather with her love of baking. Beginning in her preteen years, he would find recipes and ask her to bake them. And so it began. Iced, in downtown Shelbyville, is owned by Jodi and husband Rick, Shelby Electric Cooperative members. It is Jodi’s love of baking that prompted Rick […]


The Igloo Diner

You might not expect to find an igloo in a small Midwestern town, but you will in Peru, Ill. The Igloo Diner, a local mom-and-pop, has been an icon there since 1937. Rumor has it that when the building was originally under construction, a passerby commented that the big white box looked like an igloo, […]

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

CLOSED – Free Press Coffee House

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 […]