I’m working second shift hours, six days a week (it’s a six hour shift, so it’s not as bad as it sounds), so it’s a little tough to socialize with people. By the time I’m getting off work, it’s too late for most people to hang out, especially during the week. Lately, I’m finding I’m having lunch more with people than I ever have before in my life. And so I thought I might as well turn that into a regular feature here on MBIP. I’m calling it, “Lunch With...” and this post’s luncheon guest is an old friend of mine, Steve Tarter.
Steve grew up in Boston (the land of MBIP commenter, csp) and came to Peoria to attend Bradley University. He graduated in 1972, when I was just in 8th grade. I threw that in just to make Steve feel old. Har-dee-har-har! Steve’s the father of four grown children and he’s got a baby granddaughter. He was the marketing director for GP Transit (which is now CityLink) before joining the ranks of the Peoria Journal Star where he’s served as the business editor since 2011. Steve also was a contributing writer to POP magazine.
Okay, enough about Steve Tarter, lets go get lunch, I’m starvin’ like Marvin over here!
Haddad’s Downtwon has been open for a couple years, but I’ve never been here, let’s go in and see what’s happening.
I don’t need to see the new menu, I know what I want without looking. Haddad’s is famous for their gyros and I can’t wait to have one.
Here’s a view of the restaurant from the front...
And from the back. Very nice in here!
Here’s the table I chose for Steve and I, of course I’m obsessively early, so let’s take a look around.
The first thing I noticed in here were the hand-painted murals on the walls.
I love these, I wondered if they were done by a local artist, so I looked for a signature on the painting...
The loneliest ketchup squirter in the world. Sob!
Here’s the owner of Haddad’s Downtown, Andrew...
And here’s myself with the man of the hour, Steve Tarter!
Our lovely server is Amy, she was really nice and a good sport about posing for photos.
Here’s the view from our table of downtown Peoria.
We started off with salads complete with homemade dressing.
Notice Steve’s reaction when I told him that one of the duties about being the luncheon guest of the day at MBIP was to pick up the check.
The main course is now served...
Haddad’s famous gyro! It looks delicious!
Steve presents his gyro for the MBIP audience. Lunch was great and it was fun catching up with Steve.
After a lengthy visit, Steve said he had a pressing appointment and had to run.
I was full from lunch, but my sweet tooth was calling. Luckily...
Ha! Look who’s in here, so this was Steve’s pressing appointment!
Debbie serves up dessert.
Thoughts for Food
I thought it would be fun when doing one of these, “Lunch With...” posts, that the luncheon guest would answer the following questions. And so, here we go, oh Steve...
Favorite pizza in Peoria (or nearby, this appies to all questions): Probably Firehouse on the local side and Domino's on the chain side.
Recommendation for Saturday Night Cheeseburger: Burger Barge, Ludy's and Granite City are all good.
Best local ice cream and favorite flavor: Emack & Bolio's and Spotted Cow.
If you could take a trip back in time, where would you eat a meal in Peoria? For nostalgia reasons, I'd go back to the Heritage House Smorgasbord. Another trip back in time would be to Steak 'N Bake on Knoxville circa 1970 for that nickel pitcher of beer and the free cigar and after-dinner drink.
Even though you should try to eat local, the one chain restaurant in Peoria I would recommend is: Panera's.
Favorite local sandwich: It's got to be the gondola from Avanti's.
Best little out of the way joint I know is: Castle's Patio Inn where you need to sample the garlic cheese, hot mustard and horseradish.
Someplace that has really good pub grub is: Hofbrau is hardly just a pub but it comes to mind.
My favorite spot for breakfast is: Panera's, Le Peep and Wild Berries.
If you had to choose a last meal in Peoria, what would it be (feel free to use items from different restaurants): Jim’s Downtown Steakhouse.