10 Best Places to Find an Iconic Tenderloin Sandwich in Greater Peoria


Tim Alexander, Guest Writer


Other then perhaps chicken wings, few foods can spark a livelier culinary debate here in Greater Peoria than the breaded pork tenderloin (BPT). Rarely found west of the Rockies or south of the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, central Illinois expatriates often seek out their favorite BPTs for their first meal when returning to the Peoria area to visit. 

Here's a list of ten great places to find a crunchy, delicious, deep-fried BPT in Greater Peoria:

Asher’s Bar & Grill  {Pekin}   //   Asher’s is best known for their “Record Size” and smaller “45 size” tenderloins. A newer entry into the central Illinois BPT arena, Asher’s is quickly developing a large and loyal clientele. “Great tenderloin and onion straws,” wrote Denise Snyder in a Facebook review. “Will definitely be back!”

Billboard Bistro  {Bartonville}   //   Recognized for their friendly staff, great atmosphere, excellent service and outstanding food, the Billboard’s BPT is earning rave reviews from area foodies. “As a person who likes his tenderloins a bit thinner as opposed to thick, this one is made perfect for my tastes,” wrote reviewer Ryan Simpson in restaurantji.com. “Best tenderloin in the world,” added Peorian Randall Rennau

Carrigan’s Pub  {East Peoria}   //   Carrigan’s BPT is described as “fantastic” and “hand made with a thick cut and homemade batter,” by Google reviewer Don. Adds Charlie Greer, “Maybe the best BPT in the Peoria area. Head and shoulders above the rest.”

Crusen's   {Peoria}   //   Hand-cut and breaded fresh daily, “Crusen’s BPTs are so big they send them home with you in a pizza box,” said Ron Panek, Peoria BPT connoisseur. “They are also of outstanding quality.”

Jimmy’s Bar  {West Peoria}   //   The venerable Jimmy’s has been known for quality food-- including tenderloin sandwiches-- by West Peorian's and other diners for decades. The energetic, Irish-themed pub and restaurant’s BPTs are served with chips and a pickle spear, though regulars know they are sometimes best consumed with a side of Guinness stout. “Jimmy’s still serves one of the best tenderloins around,” said Marty Wombacher, food reviewer for Midwest Slice of Life.

Kouri’s Pub  {Peoria}   //   Kouri’s smaller-sized tenderloin sandwiches are crisp, flaky and perfect for solo diners and those who don’t fancy the larger BPTs many restaurants are known for. A local, family owned bistro and tavern since 1986, this pub has locations outside Peoria County in Pekin and Germantown Hills. Kouri’s is perfect for family, friends or the work crew. 

Lou's Drive-In {Peoria} // Perfectly fried and crispy BPT without being heavy. Pair it with their house-made Root Beer and delicious fries. Open seasonally, so don't miss out this summer on a Peoria staple.

Mike’s Tavern  {West Peoria}   //   “Mike’s spicy tenderloin is like no other BPT out there,” said Marty Wombacher, a food reviewer tackling the subject of Peoria’s best BPTs for his Midwest Slice of Life YouTube program. “It’s my favorite tenderloin, and I’ve had plenty of them. It’s so unique tasting.” A converted garage, Mike’s Tavern has been known for its BPTs by their regular customers for decades, and is now a favorite of Bradley University students. 

Obed and Isaac's Microbrewery and Eatery {Peoria} // Looking for a mouth-watering BPT, then you're in the right spot! Enjoy their classic on the patio. Whether you want full sun or shade, this pet-friendly patio is partially covered and complete with a 24-tap bar, fire pits, bocce ball, and bags, which means there's something for everyone.

Spoonies  {London Mills}   //   Known as the home of the two-pound BPT, you'll never go away hungry from this out-of-the-way diner and pub located at the northern gateway to Spoon River Drive country. “The destination-worthy BPT exceeded expectations. With its enormous size you expect it to be dried out and tasteless, but that’s not the case,” said Eric. L., a food reviewer on Yelp.com.

Schooner’s  {Peoria Heights}   //   A classic go-to for a great BPT is Schooners, which has been turning out “four-bun” tenderloins for their Peoria customers for decades. Try their famous King Tenderloin with a basket of Schooner’s famous onion rings, or opt for the Tenderloin Supreme served open-faced with pizza sauce, two kinds of cheeses, grilled sausage, tomato, lettuce and onion. “It’s three pounds of pure heaven,” their menu boasts.

The Rail Splitter   {Mossville}   //   The Rail Splitter, located in a renovated, historic 1830s-era “roadhouse” near the intersections of Illinois Route 29 and Route 6, offers an $8.95 ala carte homemade BLT that ranks among the area’s finest (and best-kept secrets). “Amazing tenderloins,” gushed Nola McCune, a food reviewer on RestaurantGuru.com.



Didn't see your favorite place to nosh a crispy BPT in our top ten list? Here are ten more great pubs and restaurants that can satisfy your BPT craving in the Greater Peoria Area:

Kuchie’s on the Water   {Creve Coeur

Midway Duck Inn   {Lowpoint} 

Perdue’s Grill   {Tremont} 

Donnelly’s Irish Pub    {Peoria

Kenny’s Westside Pub    {Peoria}

TNT Sports Bar & Grill    {East Peoria}

Norwood Pub and Grub    {Peoria}

Last Chance Bar & Grill     {Alta}

Khaki Jack’s    {Peoria}

The Hungry Moose    {Peoria}

Still don't see your favorite place in central Illinois for a tenderloin sandwich on this list? Check out Marty Wombacher’s ongoing series devoted to finding the best BPT in the Midwest on the Slice of Life YouTube channel.

Tim Alexander, Guest Writer

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