Born Paint was “born” (sorry about that) in downtown Peoria by Joe and Nick Born in 1920. Herb Weidinger bought Born Paint in the late ‘50’s and it remains a locally owned, family-run business to this day. Herb’s grandson, Paul Berres, Jr. took over the business in 1998. I’ve been friends with Paul, or P.B. as his friends refer to him, since I was single-handedly trying to put the “high” back in high school at Bergan High School all those beers...I mean, years ago.
One of the first persons I had lunch with when I moved back to Peoria last October was, P.B. I hadn’t seen him in quite a while and it was fun to catch up and hear about him, his wife Maggie and their kids. It was wonderful to see Born Paint, I hadn’t been there in decades and it’s a such a great downtown store, rich in heritage. It’s cool that businesses like Born Paint haven’t abandoned downtown Peoria and keep the area going by doing business downtown. They’ve been housed in four different locations in downtown Peoria through the years and have been at the current Born Paint location since 1976, the year P.B. and I graduated high school.
When I had lunch with P.B. back in last October, I hadn’t started this blog yet. Now that’s it’s going, I thought it would be fun to have him as a guest on the “Lunch With...” series, so lets go downtown and see him in action at Born Paint!
Here we are at Born Paint, what a classic downtown Peoria building.
Okay, let's go inside and get P.B. and get this lunch thing going.
Here's the front counter, no P.B. to be found here...
And of course there's paint buckets, it is a paint store after all. I wonder where he is...
I've wandered upstairs to the offices and I think I see him, but first let's turn our attention to something else I've just discovered up here...
Snacks! Okay, let's go say hi to P.B.
Hello, P.B! Alright, time to let this luncheon thing begin!
Check out this vintage ad in P.B.'s office. Insert your own, "That's what she said," joke here.
The window in P.B.'s office overlooks the whole store. Hey, fella, you want to take that paint can out of your pocket and put it on the counter and pay for it? Thank you!
A shot of Paul and his brother Pete up by the front counter. They're the co-owners of the store, the latest family members to be running the place.
And here's living proof that Born Paint truly keeps it all in the family, a shot of P.B. and his son Jack who works here. After some consultation with P.B. and Jack, we decided to have lunch at The Locker Room, which is just blocks away.
And boom, through the magic of the internet, here we are at The Locker Room on Jefferson Avenue.
P.B. leads the way inside to the land of lunch.
We decided to sit at the bar...
And Tara graciously greeted us with menus and led us to some seats at the bar.
In addition to the menu, they have forms where you can build your own sandwich or burger. I chose a turkey burger with cheddar cheese, bacon and a chili sauce on a pretzel roll. Jealous? Just wait till you see the burger!
P.B. was still filling his menu out, so I thought I'd take a few minutes and take a look around the joint.
If you look closely you'll see an obligatory bar mirror shot of myself and P.B. in this shot of the back of the lit up bar.
A swing and a miss...whoops, wrong sports lingo. How about this: He shoots and he scores...okay, that's better.
I forgot to take my patent-pending Spike shot of the taps, but I did get a list of the beers available and it's an impressive list.
A giganzo shuffleboard table sits opposite the bar.
P.B. is still filling out that goddamned menu! What kind of monster sandwich is he building?
Meanwhile, back at the bar, condiments have been placed in front of us. Gentlemen, start your lunch engines!
Okay, here we go, lunch is served up by Tara with a wonderful smile!
Wow, it looks fantastic, that pretzel bun looks amazing. And the chips are homemade.
P.B. also got a turkey burger, but he opted for the whole wheat bun. That looks great too!
I've never had a better turkey burger. Really juicy and the chili sauce and pretzel bun were fantastic!
Thanks to P.B. for joining me for lunch! It was a great time, but now it's time to head out the door as P.B. has to get back to work and I have to get ready to go to work. And work, just like love, is a four letter word. See you all tomorrow.
Thoughts For Food...
Favorite pizza in Peoria (or nearby, this applies to all questions): Larry’s Driftwood in Creve Coeur.
Recommendation for Saturday Night Cheeseburger: Schooners.
If you could take a trip back in time, where would you eat a meal in Peoria? The Palace Cafeteria. It was underneath the Palace Theater. My Grandfather too us for lunch there on many Saturdays back in my youth.
Even though you should try to eat local, the one chain restaurant in Peoria I would recommend is: Granite City in East Peoria.
Favorite ice cream in Peoria: Emack & Bolio’s of course! (And don’t forget to say the secret word!)
Favorite local sandwich: Ipswitch sandwich (chicken) at Khaki Jack’s.
Best little out of the way joint I know is: The Midway Duck Inn at Lacon, Illinois.
Someplace that has really good pub grub is: Kelleher’s Pub.
My favorite spot for breakfast is: Home, sweet home.
And my favorite spot to have lunch at is: Born Paint Store.
If you had to choose a last meal in Peoria, what would it be (feel free to use items from different restaurants): I’d start with Beef Bites from Kelleher’s Pub, then pizza at Agatucci’s, a couple of pints of Guinness back at Kelleher’s and then ice cream from Emack & Bolio’s on Prospect Road in the Heights.