The Secret Food Scene of East Peoria


Discover Peoria


East Peoria may not be perceived as Greater Peoria’s culinary focal point, but there are some real gems on the eastern banks of the Illinois River, miles from Downtown Peoria. Tucked away in these quiet neighborhoods are some of our most prized entities unfamiliar to business travelers, tourists, and even regional residents. 

These are the hidden local stops—the small family-owned treasures with delicious foods well worth seeking out. Keep reading for some surprisingly impressive eats in East Peoria, Illinois.

French Dip Sandwich at 5th Quarter Bar + Grill  {East Peoria}   //   Add sweet or hot peppers to the mountain of shaved angus beef, gooey cheese and sauteed onions and this sandwich will be your new favorite! Be prepared to ask for a stack of napkins because this beast is served with a cup of steaming homemade au jus that will force you to roll up your sleeves when you dive in.

Big Fish Boat at Burger Barge  {East Peoria}   //   The Big Fish Boat is a satisfying collation of flavors that really hit the spot. This tender, flakey Alaskan white fish is dipped in a handcrafted beer batter, and deep-fried to crispy, golden brown perfection. Even though the filet is deep-fried, the fish is light and crusty with delicate seasonings and won’t leave you feeling bloated or greasy. It’s a great piece of fish that’s beautifully seasoned and cooked.  

Tenderloin Sandwich at Carrigan’s Pub  {East Peoria}   //   This beast-of-a-sandwich is served with an impressive slab of thick-cut pork, lightly breaded, and flash fried to ensure a tender and juicy center and a perfectly golden crispy exterior.  We gotta say, the Peoria Area is packed with impressive tenderloin sandwiches but Carrigans’ ranks amongst the best.

Charbroiled Steak Sandwich at Country Saloon  {East Peoria}   //   Warning:  this meal is so good you will crave it in the middle of the night. Country Saloon hand cuts a beautiful marbled ribeye and seasons it with a secret rub to enhance its natural flavors. It’s then seared until slightly charred, grilled to order, and presented on a toasted baguette piled high with sauteed onions and thinly sliced mushrooms. It’s a work of culinary art.

Smoked Salmon Benedict at Eggcellent Cafe  {East Peoria}   //   This heavenly smoked salmon benedict uses buttery, toasty English Muffins to float salty smoked salmon, creamy avocado, roasted tomatoes, and perfectly poached eggs all topped off with a smooth and zesty homemade Hollandaise sauce. Eggcellent Cafe has perfected this succulent dish by combining intense flavors and silky textures—it’s truly a brunch game changer.

Stop, Drop, and Rollies at Firehouse Pizza  {East Peoria}   //   We love Firehouse’s made-daily-from-scratch dough and famous sweet sauce, but have you tried the Stop Drop, and Rollies?! Imagine a pinwheel of hand-tossed crust filled with juicy honey-barbecue chicken, gooey mozzarella cheese, and tangy red peppadews served steaming hot, golden brown, and utterly delicious.  

Seven Layer Salad at Jonah’s Seafood House  {East Peoria}   //   Why are we raving about a salad?? Because these seven layers are a healthy hearty dish that doesn't taste like rabbit food. Jonah’s seven layer salad is an exception. It’s hearty. It’s flavorful. It’s wholesome. It’s fresh spring greens topped with cauliflower, bell peppers, peas, sweet onion, freshly shredded cheese, crispy bacon and is tossed in a secret homemade sweet and tangy dressing that will shock and delight. It’s famous for a reason and it’s available in the marketplace if you need a quick fix. 

Crab Rangoon at Pho Noodle House  {East Peoria}   //   These pinched pockets of wonton are packed with a savory combination of rich warm cream cheese, real crab meat, and seasoned with green onions. Each pocket is deep fried to golden deliciousness and served with a homemade sweet chili pineapple dipping sauce. Pho Noodle House makes each delicate triangle from scratch, by hand daily and it shows in the stunning quality and rich flavors of this appetizer!

Silver Bullet Burger at Silver Bullet  {East Peoria}   //   While the menu at Silver Bullet may be considered "bar food" the quality is first-rate. There’s something to be said about a classic, deliciously simple, uncomplicated cheeseburger and Silver Bullet has mastered it with their Silver Bullet Burger. It’s not fancy but it’s perfectly crafted with melted cheese atop a juicy beef patty, crispy bacon, lettuce, pickles, thinly sliced tomatoes and onions on a Brioche bun.

Quesabirria Tacos at Tacos El Gallo  {East Peoria}   //   Get ready for a flavor fiesta with these quesabirria tacos! This dish is a cross between a taco and a quesadilla with made-from-scratch corn tortillas packed with melted chihuahua cheese, slow-roasted birria beef, topped with fresh onions and cilantro. Served with lime wedges and a piping-hot cup of broth—known as consomé—for dunking each flavorful masterpiece. This is another delightfully messy dish, so grab a stack of napkins, roll up your sleeves, and dig in!

Giant Pretzel at Tin Lizard Bar + Grill  {East Peoria}   //   Four words: ale house cheese fondue. Yes, the massive pretzel itself is amazing—it’s a perfect balance of crusty and chewy, warm, fragrant, and coated in coarse salt. But if we’re being honest, this giant pretzel is merely a German vehicle for the aromatic, zesty stone ground mustard and the delectably luscious cheese fondue. Regardless of the reasoning, the Tin Lizard’s giant pretzel is comfort food at its finest!

Friday Fish Fry at TnT’s Sports Bar + Grill  {East Peoria}   //   These delicate filets are lightly tossed in TnT’s homemade breading and fried to golden perfection. It’s a midwestern quintessential fish fry served with a potato, cole slaw, and a dinner roll. Be prepared, even though TnT’s is tucked away at the edge of East Peoria and Morton, this gem draws a big crowd eager for their Friday night catfish and walleye dinners.

Discover Peoria
Discover Peoria

Discover Peoria, IL