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:

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

Spoonies  {London Mills}   //   Known as the home of the two-pound BPT, customers 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.

Asher’s Bar & Grill  {Pekin}   //   Recently relocated from Farmington to historic downtown Pekin following a fire, 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!”

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.

Carrigan’s Pub  {East Peoria}   //   Rated 4.6 out of 5 by Restaurantji.com, 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.” At $9.99, Carrigan’s BPT is a great bargain. 

Crusens   {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.” For a smaller appetite, half-tenderloin sandwiches are also offered on the Crusens menu.

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. 

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. 

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.

Jimmy’s Bar  {West Peoria}   //   The venerable Jimmy’s has been known for quality food-- including tenderloin sandwiches-- by West Peorians 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.



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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