Yesterday when I got to the Apollo Theatre for my tour, I saw the Cracked Pepper restaurant next door and realized I’ve never eaten there and made a mental note to check it out. Then I saw the Nut House and thought about how I need to revisit that place for the blog. And then I thought of all the other great places to eat on Main Street and a light bulb went off over my head, so I went into hiding for three hours and forty-seven minutes because it scares the ever-loving shit out of me when that happens.
After the light bulb went away and I came out of hiding, I thought it might be fun to travel from the foot of Main Street all the way up to Western Avenue and sample every stinking restaurant along the way. And so today we begin this mouth-watering journey up Main Street!
We're off on a blustery kind of a grey and overcast day, but at least it's not snowing outside.
And here we are on the first stop of our Main Street tour, The Nut House. It's hard to believe it's been over a year since our last stop here. As I always say: "Fun flies when you're having time."
Hey, what's this: "Business For Sale." I don't like the sound of that one bit, let's go inside and investigate what's going on here!
I love this place, it reminds me of the old penny candy stores from back in the day. And it always smells great in here.
Here's Debbie, the pretty and friendly owner. I asked her about the store being sold and she said she's in negotiations with someone that wants to buy the store because she's ready to retire. She said the party that's interested will probably keep the store the way it is. They better or they'll be in trouble! Stay tuned to see what happens here, I'll keep you all posted!
Debbie told me her family has owned the Nut House for over 100 years in different locations around downtown Peoria, here's a picture of the store in 1943.
Here's a photo of The Nut House from 1959 when they were located at 427 Main Street. I was one-year-old back then and nursing on a baby Budweiser bottle.
Debbie told me that this counter is the original counter of the store from way back in the day. She said that the counter and the scale over there are the two oldest things in the store. Speaking of scales, what's that say at the bottom of it?
"Thank you for not touching the scale." Well, that only can lead to one thing...
You gotta touch the scale! Debbie was a good sport and joined me in this touching moment! Holy headshops, Batman, look, they sell poppers in here!
Okay, let's get down to business, I thought we'd get some peanuts for an appetizer for our lunch...
And we'll get some candy for dessert...
Okay, we're all set, time to move on to our next edible stop on Main Street...
Cracked Pepper, I've been to the one on Adams, but I've never been in this location.
Let's go in and start today's lunch hour on Main Street.
It's nice and cozy in here, kind of a mini version of the other Cracked Pepper. And as you can see from the line at the counter, it's a popular spot.
Here's Diana working behind the counter who told me she's worked here for three years and loves it because she's gotten to know all the regulars that come in here every day. She also helps out on the catering end of the business here at Cracked Pepper. Who's that mysterious fellow lurking behind her? We'll find out soon, keep on scrolling!
Just like at the other location, exotic and unusual pepper grinders line the colorful wall in here.
I love the pumpkin grinder!
They have to have the largest collection of pepper grinders in town.
The restaurant may be small, but as you can see, there's lots of choices to be had here...
And even more over here, look at Diana back there thinking, "How many pictures is this guy going to take in here?"
I got a bag of mixed nuts for the appetizer from The Nut House. Very tasty!
Here's the main course, a Cuban sandwich. It looks wonderful!
This grilled sandwich is made up with ham, pork, Swiss cheese and crispy pickle slices on bakery fresh Ciabatta bread. Since we're eating this at Cracked Pepper I had to add a liberal dose of the seasoning on the sandwich, when in Rome...
Great sandwich! Dagwood Bumstead eat your heart out cause you ain't getting a bite of this!
And for dessert, chocolate covered nuts and cherry sours. Hey, wouldn't "Cherry Sours" be a great porn name? In fact this entire dessert could be a porn movie: "Cherry Sours Starring In Chocolate Covered Nuts." Oh to dream the impossible dream!
And remember that mysterious fellow lurking behind Diana? Well it turns out it's Ricky, who's the talented chef in here and made today's tasty Cuban sandwich. Goodbye Ricky and we'll see you all tomorrow!
The Nut House
311 Main Street
311 S Main Street