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Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008 08:38 am

Best small town resturant outside of Springfield

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Rather than name a winner in this out-of-town eatery category we thought it would be far more fun to challenge readers to eat their way around central Illinois. In alphabetical order here are nine eateries our readers recommended:

Ariston Café
413 Old Route 66 North, Litchfield, 324-2023

This is a legendary establishment that has an 85-year history and an amazingly diverse menu (Mexican, Italian, steaks … plus Sunday brunch) tucked inside a warm and friendly setting.

Bill’s Toasty
111 N. Main St., Taylorville, 824-4022

This is an old- fashioned “grill,” where the burgers and fried cheese curds are cooked right in front of you. Open 24 hours a day.

Blue Moon Dining Company
Route 36, Dawson, 364-4546

Readers mentioned an eclectic mix of home- style meals including chicken pot pie and choice steaks. We’re assured it is casual and offers delicious food and is certainly off the beaten path.

Gambino’s Restaurant
205 S. Walnut, Rochester, 498-8419

Who knew there was a Cajun restaurant in Rochester? Seafood gumbo, crawfish e’touffe, shrimp, fish and gator… “If you close your eyes you’ll think you’re in New Orleans.”

Fat Willy’s
109 E. Mulberry, Chatham 483-6969

It isn’t exotic, but it sure is popular. If you haven’t tried a pizza or the “excellent comfort food” you’d better get yourself to Fat Willy’s. Sounds like they know what they’re doing.

Jack and Jo’s Steakhouse
124 E. Chestnut St., Mason City, 482-3616

If you love a good steak and don’t want to settle for a local joint, it sounds like these folks have a good thing going. Housed in a restored 19th-century century building, the steakhouse is a place our readers are certain is worth the trip.

Boar’s Nest
1007 N. State Route 29, Athens, 636-8630

This busy spot is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner except on Sunday when they rest. But don’t let the long hours fool you —– we’re told the food is spectacular and the menu runs the gamut from horseshoes to ribeye steaks and includes nightly dinner specials.

DiCarlo’s
330 N. Springfield, Virden, 965-5323
Nominated by a couple dozen readers, we’re told “there is no better pizza south of Chicago than DiCarlo’s in Virden, Ill.” We’ve also confirmed they have a full menu of Italian favorites.
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