Foodie Gems in Tazewell County


Discover Peoria


Tazewell is a county dotted with hidden gems. From fine restaurants to hole-in-the-wall spots tucked away in alleyways, there is no shortage of excellent eats and drinks that don’t get the recognition they deserve. Read on for the best-kept top secret (well, now not-so-secret) drinking and dining experiences that await you around Tazewell County.

Avanti’s   {Peoria + East Peoria + Pekin}   //  One bite of the delicious, fresh baked bread and you’ll be hooked for life! Native Illinois-ians will travel far and wide to indulge in the nostalgic memories of their childhood, which most definitely included the classic Gondola sandwich. Whether you’re staying for a while or just passing through, as a Tazewell County favorite, Avanti’s is definitely a place you’ll want to visit.

BC BBQ  {Pekin}   //  You’ll smell the smoker from miles away as BC BBQ is always cookin’ up something mouth-watering. Sink your teeth in the smoked pork, burnt ends, hot wings, or specialty loaded baked potatoes—mac n cheese, pulled pork, green onions atop a perfectly cooked baked potato. This place is renowned by locals for its great service and quality meat that keeps them coming back for more.

Bernardi’s  {Washington}   //  Bernardi’s kitchen plates up hearty red sauce entrees, from delectable pastas to walleye and crispy fried chicken. For 85 years, this family-owned spot has been dishing out generational family recipes. From mouth-watering baby back ribs to their famous tortellini and abbruzzo—we seriously doubt you can place a bad order.

Brickhouse BBQ – Burgers – Brews {Washington}   //   A great spot to grab a juicy burger, cheesy pizza, or saucy wings. The menu is bursting with flavor from fresh ingredients, which pair perfectly with their craft beers on draft. Stop in for a relaxing date night or make it a celebration with the whole family. 

Carrigan’s Pub  {East Peoria}    //   Be sure to come hungry, because the portions are as large as you’d expect at a perpetually busy classic Irish pub. Carrigan’s is known for the homemade pork tenderloin sandwich served with their hand-sliced chips. It’s one sandwich you’ll be talking about for days. 

Mike’s Cobbler Corner  {Pekin}   //  When you arrive, you’ll surely be greeted by friendly staff and eat amongst regulars who can’t get enough of Mike’s homemade cobblers, which are usually offered on special rotation and worth the trip alone. A meal here feels like nostalgia—the care and craftsmanship is evident in each homemade dish—just like Grandma used to make.

Cranwill’s RootBeer Stand + Drive-In  {Pekin}   //   Classic drive-in delicacies will bring you right back to nostalgic nights as a kid, where you’d pull up in the family’s Volkswagen and sip root beer floats and and enjoy a Coney Island hot dog with the windows rolled down— the vibes are just so good here.

Cummins Family Restaurant  {Washington}   //    Cummins Family Restaurant is the kind of place you want to pull over for, even if it’s just to drink a cup of coffee and share some conversation with friendly servers or regulars. Expect quality food no matter what time you end up stopping in. We love how straightforward this menu is but check with your server for rotating daily specials and don’t be afraid to try a local recommendation.

Eggcellent Cafe  {East Peoria}    //    Something about an omelet served next to a mountain of hand-cut breakfast potatoes and a fresh, spicy Bloody Mary  just hits a little differently. Head to Eggcellent Cafe for breakfast or brunch and set your sights on the  savory smoked salmon eggs benedict, and don’t look back—unless it’s at any one of the delicious hot cakes available, like the sweet caramelized apple pancakes. 

Garner’s Pizza and Wings  {Morton + East Peoria}   //  Peoria Area’s best wings and pizza can undoubtedly be found at Garner’s Pizza + Wing. This family-run local watering hole offers the best of both worlds: a casual atmosphere and some really stellar food. With an extensive menu, constant food and drink specials, and dishes made with high-quality, fresh ingredients, it’s easy to see why Garner’s reputation of excellence has stuck around since 1993.

Haynes on Main  {Mackinaw}   //   How does a night out in an open-air beer garden sound? Channeling an alfresco experience, this charming eatery and bar is famed for its shareable dishes, tasty nibbles, live music, and libations made with high-end, highly exotic ingredients. Haynes on Main is definitely a top place in Tazewell County for a girl’s night out that caters to foodies!

Jimbo’s Jumbo  {Pekin}   //   Submarine. Grinder. Hoagie. Spuckie. Simply an Italian sub. Whatever you call it, we are all speaking the same love language. This old-school takeout spot specializes in the salty, spicy sandwich of thinly sliced cold cuts, provolone cheese, pickles, and hots. Jimbo’s Jumbo knows its way around an Italian sub making it a true hidden gem for foodies in Tazewell Co.

Jonah’s Seafood House  {East Peoria}   //   With a raw oyster bar, Jonah’s offers a unique experience unlike anywhere else in Tazewell Co. Not only an incredible restaurant, Jonah’s also houses a boutique market featuring fresh seafood, exotic cheeses, imported wines, and so much more. Reservations are recommended and we suggest the sweet cheesy au gratin potatoes as your side to any of the amazing dishes. 

Kemp 208  {Morton}   //   This cozy lounge offers handcrafted cocktails made from small-batch limited-run spirits, fine wines and small plates made with fresh farm-to-table ingredients. Kemp 208 focuses on the flavor profiles that hit the right notes—and there is no wrong choice. Between the bison tacos, vegan pasta, hand cut steaks, and a fabulous meat and cheese selection, you’ll want to make a regular date to try the ever-changing dishes on the menu.

Kuchie’s on the Water  {Creve Coeur}   //   Kuchie’s on the Water is another Tazewell County staple just across the river (literally) from Peoria. The ever-changing shipwreck shakes are a major topic of discussion from the savory bloody mary topped with bacon, shrimp, a slider, meatballs, cheese, and more to their colossal dessert shakes which are always a sight to behold. 

Lorena’s Mexican Restaurant  {East Peoria}   //   In East Peoria, this festive Mexican restaurant is somewhat of a hidden gem in the neighborhood. You’ll find it tucked into a strip mall along Riverside Drive amongst recognizable chain restaurants. But bypass the typical and stop in for Lorena’s authentic Mexican dishes like chicken mole, enchiladas, fajitas, and fish tacos. The cheese pull on the Diablo nachos are out of this world! 

Maquet’s Rail House  {Pekin}   //  Take a seat and let the welcoming vibes and mouth-watering smell of the bustling kitchen wash over you. With a massive food + bar menu—you can’t go wrong, but we’re choosing to focus on the pizza for this hidden gem write-up.  To make their crispy pies, the Rail House uses fresh cheese and fermented dough before topping pizzas with Italian-American flavors in selections like the Margherita, Classic Carne, Garlic Chicken Bacon Ranch, and Mushroom + Truffle. Pizzas bake in a stone oven imported from Tuscany, and within a minute or two, they’re ready to go. 

Perdue’s Grill  {Tremont}   //   Specializing in home cooked dishes with unique flavors and fresh, local ingredients—as a foodie, Perdue’s is a spot you won’t want to miss. Offering a giant tasty menu of angus beef burgers, clever sandwiches, homemade pizzas, seasoned wings, huge horseshoes, fresh salads, as well as a selection of local beers. Start your meal by ordering the “footballs”—these lightly breaded balls of mashed potatoes and fried golden-brown and to an ooey gooey perfection.

Pho Noodle House  {East Peoria}   //   For three generations, the pho broth recipe at Pho Noodle House has been passed down and deliciously perfected. While continuing in the traditional flavors of their Vietnamese roots, Pho Noodle House has expanded the classic offerings with a modern and artistic flair. Order a Vietnamese bubble tea and the brisket pho with a marinated soft boiled egg, and whatever you do, don’t miss the fresh burst of flavor from the handmade crab rangoon. 

Seasons Gastropub  {Morton}   //   American, Italian, Asian—it’s hard to pinpoint the inspiration behind the dishes at Seasons Gastropub, but the delicious and diverse flavors are the reason this place attracts a foodie crowd. With open-air garage doors to welcome the summer breeze and fireplaces to stave off the winter chill, this foodie destination is cranking out excellent dishes and craft cocktails whatever the season.

The Fillin’ Station  {Washington}   //   The FIllin’ Station does diner tradition proud with its cozy booths, friendly atmosphere, and, of course, its extremely large menu and portion sizes. Whether you’re looking for a hearty breakfast, a quick lunch, or a simple cup of coffee, this modest mom-and-pop diner has you covered. You’ll love the vintage feel from the classic car plates on the wall to the uniquely named burgers—try the Mike’s 57 Chevy or the Thunderbird.   

Tin Lizard  {East Peoria}   //    Located inside the Par-A-Dice Hotel + Casino, this spot is nothing short of a good time. Their lively but relaxed vibe is cozy and welcoming. With mouth-watering, big-portioned plates like the street taco sampler, parmesan garlic fries with truffle aioli, bacon wrapped meatloaf, BBQ chicken pizza, 10oz pepper jack burger, this spot is a foodie’s paradise (pun intended!) And if the excellent food isn’t enough of a sell, Tin Lizard is known for hosting some of the best local and regional bands!

TnT’s Sports Bar + Grill  {East Peoria}   //   TnT’s is a classic midwestern dive bar—and around here, that’s a good thing! You can’t go wrong with ordering wings or a tenderloin sandwich here, and we absolutely love the burger selection. Regardless of the day, regardless of your team, there’s one thing you can bet on—everything on the menu pairs well with football. With NFL Sunday Ticket, you can catch all the games here.

Yesterday’s Bar and Grill  {Pekin}   //   With historic charm and an expansive menu, YBG has kept foodies coming back again and again. Featuring multi-course tasting events that tantalize the taste buds, you get an international experience without the travel expense. It’ll be hard to save room for dessert but do it anyway. 

Discover Peoria
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