In every city we visit, we are able to uncover some amazing eats. Springfield, Illinois kicked it up a level by adding the historic aspect to many of our stops. Being the heart of the “Land of Lincoln”, as well as a Route 66 destination, made this city extra special. Our downtown stay gave us access to a slew of locally owned eateries that are serving up some unique dishes. We all know that eating is required to survive, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good food. Join us as we walk through this gallery of historic dining options in Springfield. Illinois.
We want to thank Visit Springfield and the local businesses for their hospitality. Rest assured all opinions are our own.
The Lincoln Connection
If we are going to write an article about historic dining options in Springfield, Illinois, we have to include Wm. Van’s Coffee House. With a history that spans over 150 years ago, this former home has a direct link to Abraham Lincoln. These days, it has been moved to its new location and serves the locals and visitors who frequent this unique coffee house. (Read more about Wm. Vans here.)
Bringing a French Influence
We would love to write an article about every place we visit, but sometimes it just isn’t feasible. This is one of the reasons we produce these overview articles. It gives us a chance to show some other wonderful options that can be found in the cities we visit. A good example is Incredibly Delicious. This French bakery and cafe serve up some delightful baked goods and flavorful dishes. Everything was so tempting that we even had a slice of their sinful chocolate cake with our breakfast.
Historic Dining Options in Springfield, Illinois
When it comes to historic dining options in Springfield, Illinois, Maldaner’s Restaurant has been around for 135 years. With that many years under their belt, we knew the meals would be memorable. After all, this place has been serving Route 66 diners since the very beginning of the nation’s first highway. (Read about Maldaner’s here.)
Mother Road Eats
Speaking of Route 66 iconic eateries, let’s talk Cozy Dogs. This unique eat has quite a colorful, and debatable, history. There are a few stories of the origin of this cornmeal coated snack, and the one that surrounds Cozy Dog Drive-In is just as plausible as any. While we were raised calling them corn dogs, you won’t want to make that slip up when ordering at this Springfield classic. (Check out Cozy Dog here.)
With so many historic dining options in Springfield, some may begin to think there are no new options. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. This capital city has plenty of new tastes to sample, and we couldn’t wait to give some of them a try. Long Nine Junction was definitely a “must try”, as it has seen tons of positive press. It had piqued our interest and once we tasted some of their specialties, we couldn’t get enough. (Read more about Long Nine here.)
Tacos with a Twist
What happens when a seasoned chef decides to strike out on his own? Everyone wins, as the city gets a new restaurant, serving up authentic Mexican street dishes. This is exactly what has happened at Tacology 101. A meal of street tacos, Queso and chips, and some yucca fries were more than enough for the two of us. It reminded us of dining in our hometown, which is filled with amazing Mexican food destinations.
During our explorations of this fun Midwestern city, we kept getting asked about the “horseshoe”. It seemed like everyone “in the know” was familiar with the city’s signature dish. Obviously, there was no way we were going to miss sampling one. Our visit to Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery was the perfect opportunity. Once again, we found a dish that had a little mystery around its origin. It was interesting hearing the various stories, but it was the dish that was the real winner. It is definitely carbalicious. (You can read more about horseshoes here.)
No visit to a new destination is complete without checking out the sweet treat scene. (At least in our opinion!) While our schedule was jammed packed with tons of attractions, we did squeeze in a visit to Pease’s Candy. This long-running candy maker has been in business in Springfield since the 1930s. After teaming up with Bunn Gourmet, they now offer a wider range of specialty sweets. We found their shop to be over the top and was a perfect match for the exquisite treats.
Candy isn’t the only sweet snack found in Springfield, Illinois. As we explored the shops along 6th Street, (The original Route 66) we came to a pair of specialty popcorn shops. What we found was a story of old and new working to bring options to the people who visit the area. Del’s Popcorn has been an Illinois icon for generations and expanded to Springfield in 1980. Pittman’s Popcorn is a relative newcomer but has its own niche on the popcorn business. With over 70 unique flavors, it’s gaining ground on its iconic neighbor.
Hanging with the Locals
Our visit to this capital city proved to be a culinary success. We found an amazing number of historic dining options in Springfield, Illinois. What made the visits extra special was the opportunity to meet so many locals. A common theme that we find throughout our visits, is the kind and welcoming people. Be sure to engage with the people that you meet in new destinations. They can provide the best insight into places to visit and things to do. Besides, it’s a great way to make new friends.