After living in Metamora, a town of less than 3,000 people for over 30 years, my wife, Moonbaby and I decided to change things up and move on to another town in Central Illinois. So in the fall of 2010 we moved to Morton, Illinois, population: 16,670. Yeah, I know it's not that big, but it was quite a culturural shock for us. We've really grown to love this town. The people are warm and friendly and there are a ton of great, locally owned businesses. Today I'm going to take you on a short tour and show you a few of my favorites. Please keep in mind, this is just a small sampling. Hopefully, I can do another post at a later date and show you some more.
Schooner's—630 W. Jackson St.
Yep. We have our very own Schooner's! Even though Gebby isn't at this one, Marie and her friendly staff serve up the same great grub folks enjoy at the Peoria Heights location. And with a dozen or so TV sets, it's a good spot to catch your favorite games.
Lennie's Quality Meat Shop—654 W. Jackson St.
People who love cow like I do will understand why I included this place. Their cuts are so good, you can eat them raw or burn them to a crisp. They always turn out great. They also carry sauces, seasonings, Davis Brothers frozen pizzas and Aleece's Pita Chips and dips (Made right down the road in East Peoria by the wonderful and talented Alice Anthony) among other things. I haven't bought meat in a supermarket since I found Lennie's.
Eli's Coffee—205 W. Jefferson St.
This has to be the coolest place in town. Not only do they have the best coffee I've ever tasted, they have a wide assortment of fresh, home baked muffins cupcakes, cookies, breads and other assorted tasty pastries. They also have wraps, sandwiches and various other goodies. The lawn outside is full of tables, chairs and benches that people use pretty much year around to enjoy their lattes and whatnot. There's always something going on at Eli's. It's not unusual to find somebody sitting on the porch with an acoustic guitar entertaining the customers. Inside it's full of original art, comfortable chairs and interesting knick-knacks. And like just about all of the local businesses, they're very active in the community. I hope to drag Marty over here one of these days to do a blog about it because it's really deserving of the Wombacher touch.
Susie's Snack Shop—103 W. Bradley St.
This is a fascinating little place. They have a somewhat limited menu and limited hours, but their chili dogs and tacos are legendary here in town. And yes, it's as small as it looks. At lunch time there's usually a line outside. Not only because the food's so good, but also because there's only room for five or six people inside at once.
Pegasus Pizza—151 W. Bradley St.
At one time this was probably the nicest garage in Morton. Now it's the home of Pegasus. And am I ever glad for the change. They serve up some of the best New York style pies I've ever had (in Central Illinois). Moonbaby and I have an "Imperial" delivered every Friday night. And we will until we die. They must be doing something right, they've been in business since 1975.
Carius Root Beer—214 S. Main St.
I know, I know...Dairy Queen is a chain and Marty’s probably cringing right now. But this place isn't like your typical DQ. It's a blast from the past. There's no drive-thru, no dining room and they don't cook any mystery meat here. It's seasonal (although they open very early in the spring). It's just a plain old walk-up that's all about ice cream. Whenever I'm jonesing for a banana split, I come to Carius.
Downtown Diner—112 W. Adams St.
This is a good old-fashion diner with a few tables and booths and a low counter with stools bolted to the floor. It's our favorite place in town to get breakfast. Fast, friendly and easy on the wallet.
The Confectionery—226 W. Adams St.
Here's yet another reason I'm so damn fat. These nice folks bake outstanding pies, cookies, rolls, brownies etc. (Cakes baked as special orders). They're also an outlet for "Spudnuts" that are made in Pekin. From Easter through June they feature a strawberry pie that will blow you away. I'm not kidding. They've been baking since 1976.
Hacienda Fuentes—608 S. Main St.
This place is awesome. I love Mexican food and these guys really do it right.The service is super fast and friendly. The decor is truly a feast for the eyes. All the tables, chairs and booths are hand painted with Mexican scenes. They also serve one of the best margaritas I've ever had. And believe me, I've had a lot of margaritas in my day.
Well, that wraps up our little tour. It made me kind of hungry. Thirsty too...wait a minute. There's one place I need to look for. I haven't been there, but I've heard an awful lot about it. It may be an urban myth or something, let’s go check it out.
655 Flint Ave.
This is the address. There's no signs. No sign of life either. There's some trucks parked around on the side of the building, let's see if they give us a clue as to what this place is...
Well slap my ass and call me stupid! it's the home of Butchs' Pizza! Ha! This one's for you, Boss. Happy trails everybody!
Note: This is Scott's first post for the MBIP blog, you can read about him and all the other weekend MBIP contributing writers and photographers by clicking here and scrolling down. Welcome aboard the crazy train, Scott!