We first met Daryl Klusendorf here at MBIP at a Saturday Night Cheeseburger at his well-known West Peoria restaurant, Sky Harbor. It was during that cheeseburgerly outing that Daryl told me about his FRED project. FRED stands for Farmington Road Entertainment District and some of the members of FRED have been featured here on MBIP, including, Jimmy’s Bar, Kenny’s Westside Pub and Crusens. I’m meeting Daryl and Lynn Dempsey who’s working with Daryl on an upcoming event co-sponsored by FRED and the Friends of Rocky Glen association for lunch today. We’re meeting at a diner I’ve heard good things about and I’ve been wanting to check it out for some time now. It’s called, Oscar’s Family Restaurant and it’s located on...Farmington Road, where else?
I like the looks of this place, it's got a real roadhouse feel to it.
Put your cigarette out and let's go in and see what's shaking!
Wow, this looks like a great old school styled diner!
Here's Tammy who does double duty working behind the counter and also is a waitress in here. Hey, who's that lurking in the shadows back there behind Tammy?
It's none other than Andrew, who's been the cook here for around six years. Andrew said the diner is named after owner Ken Dahlstrom's basset hound, Oscar.
I'm guessing this is Oscar hanging on the wall. I'm good with teaching old dogs new tricks, watch. "Stay, Oscar...stay." See? Good dog, Oscar!
More Basset Hound art hangs on this wall. Woof, woof.
In addition to Basset Hound photos, there's lots more John Wayne art on the walls in here. I asked Andrew what the deal was with all the John Wayne stuff and he said, "It's a diner, you just have to have John Wayne on the walls." Of course!
And the Duke's not only on the walls in here, he's in the front counter below the cash register.
Check out the John Wayne gun holsters, very cool!
There's tables over here in the side room off the main dining area...
I chose this table to sit at.
What a great menu!
They have daily specials here, but I've heard the tenderloin here is one of the best in town, so I think I'm going to try that out.
And as I look up from the menu, the first special luncheon guest of the day has arrived at the table. Meet Lynn Dempsey, a native West Peorian, who moved back to West Peoria about ten years ago, after living in various cities in the U.S. and Europe. Lynn's a business consultant, so her work takes her all over the map. Lynn’s very active in The Friends of Rocky Glen which is a nonprofit organization working to protect that unique and historical geologic area. The land has been recently purchased by the City of Peoria. The Friends of Rocky Glen are determined to see this area obtain public access, dawn to dusk. If you’re into hiking, FORG has received express permission to lead guided hikes into Rocky Glen on a monthly basis. Check the dates on the calendar on the visit page of FORG’s website.
Daryl's running a little late, so Lynn and I ordered up some chicken wings as an appetizer. The wings were great, slightly breaded and spicy, served up with Ranch Dressing. Delicious!
Halfway into the wings, the familiar face of Daryl Klusendorf appears! Lynn and Daryl told me about a fund raiser they're working on which is co-sponsored by FRED and Friends of Rocky Glen, which is an event called, "Family Fun Day," which takes place on June 22nd, from 10AM to 4PM and it's a day that showcases West Peoria and is a day filled with hiking, food, games, music and of course, fun. Some of the businesses involved in this event include: Sky Harbor which is hosting a family bags tournament; Kenny’s West Side Pub which is offering free game of pool, free soda and West Side Pretzels; Crusens where you get your choice of three free games and free soda; Kartville has a free round of 18-hole mini golf; Dave’s Billiards offers up a free game of pool; Jimmy’s Bar has a free hot dog and soda (beginning at noon) and CAMS has a mystery item yet to be determined. There’s also going to be 50/50 games and a silent auction featuring the work of local artists, Doug and Eileen Leunig. You can read more about Family Fun Day here. Mark the date—June 22nd, on your calendar and support this event, which supports the unique West Side of Peoria. Okay...time for lunch! Sheesh!
Tammy served up our lunch and then took our photo, we need to tip her over 15% for this service!
Daryl already had lunch, so he got a slice of the homemade pecan pie and ice cream. If you like pie, you should stop in at Oscar's, they have a multitude of different pies on a daily basis.
Okay, I've topped my half with onion and mustard, time to see if this tenderloin is as good as I've heard.
Holy shitballs! This is one tasty tenderloin! And it was one great lunch as well, wonderful to meet Lynn and great to see Daryl, as always. Don't forget about Family Fun Day on June 22nd and we'll see you all tomorrow.
Thoughts for Food—Lynn Dempsey
Favorite pizza in Peoria (or nearby, this applies to all questions): Kenny’s Westside Pub on Farmington Road—tomato, basil, mozzarella.
Recommendation for Saturday Night Cheeseburger: I prefer a tenderloin, but Fieldhouse or Crusen’s works for me.
Best local ice cream: Emack & Bolio's.
If you could take a trip back in time, where would you eat a meal in Peoria? Fitzgerald’s—the best steakhouse in town which used to be across from the Twin Towers downtown. It was a perfect replica of an English pub and I know since I lived in England for a couple of years!
Even though you should try to eat local, the one chain restaurant in Peoria I would recommend is: Chili’s for dry rub ribs
Favorite local sandwich: Are you kidding? Avanti’s gondolas!
Best little out of the way joint I know is: not sure I’d call it a joint, but Sky Harbor has the best pork loin dinner in town!
Someplace that has really good pub grub is: Kelleher’s – but I’m partial to Irish food.
My favorite spot for breakfast is: One World Cafe.
If you had to choose a last meal in Peoria, what would it be (feel free to use items from different restaurants): The pork loin dinner with au gratin potatoes at Sky Harbor. And by the way, who the heck has a great whole deep-fried catfish? (According to Andrew, Oscar’s does, Lynn!)