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3 Roadside Diners to Visit in Illinois

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Photo: Pixabay

If you’ve got a hankering for some solid diner staples or you’re planning a road trip across the U.S., be sure to add one of these roadside diners on your list. From sandwiches stacked high to meat and bread covered in hot cheese, you’ll want to get in the car as soon as you’re done reading.

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1. Eleven City Diner

The city of Chicago has a large breadth of restaurants to visit, including things like sushi, pizza, pasta, and more. But if you want a good old fashioned sandwich topped with plenty of meats and cheeses, you need to go to Eleven City Diner. Everything is stacked high at this restaurant, which serves up a long list of tasty sandwiches. The Corned Beef is roasted in-house every day and is served in a Challah bun alongside fries or cole slaw. You can also get a warm melt sandwich, burgers, and grilled cheese. But the cool factor at Eleven City Diner is presented in the form of the in-house soda jerk offering up phosphates as well as the classic Brooklyn Egg Cream.

2. Charlie Parker’s Diner

Springfield is home to Charlie Parker’s Diner, which was established in 1992 and was featured on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. This diner has also been included on multiple “best of” lists from publications like Food Network Magazine, Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune, thanks to its straightforward-yet-scrumptious menu items. Charlie Parker’s is best known for its breakfast, offering up classics like omelettes, French toast, waffles, pancakes, and breakfast sandwiches. But you can also get a burger, pork tenderloin, loaded tots, or a Reuben when you visit. If your stomach is rumbling and you want a challenge, try one of Charlies Famous Horseshoes, which is a slice of bread follower by your choice of meat with either tater tots or fries all stacked with cheese sauce pouring down from the top.

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3. The 50’s Diner

50s diner peoria illinois
An example of a classic 50s diner
Photo: Antonin Rémond

It doesn’t get any more straightforward when it comes to The 50’s Diner in Peoria. As you might have guessed, this spot calls back to the days of jukeboxes and The Fonz with its interior décor and classic menu items. Breakfast is served all day, offering items like hash browns, country fried steak, biscuits and gray, and omelets. The 50’s Diner’s “Rockin Appetizers” include supreme nachos, onion tanglers, potato skins, or a sampler of multiple apps on the menu. Fans of the 90s show Roseanne will remember the significance of the loose meat sandwich, and you can get one at The 50’s Diner in many different ways (including with chili cheese, Texas BBQ, BLT, or plain with cheese).