The last time I had a Main Street meal, MBIP pal, Steve Tarter was our special guest at Haddads Downtown. He told me about a place in the Commerce Bank Building called, Pepper’s Cafe that I never knew existed and I would’ve skipped it if Steve hadn’t told me about it. So I owe a hat tip to Steve for clueing me in on this somewhat hidden Main Street cafe, the only problem is I’m not wearing a hat and I don’t own one, so a hat tip is not going to happen. Maybe I’ll just mention that I’m typing this introduction pantsless and leave it at that. Okay!
Three green lights, three green lights. See how they run. See how they run. They all ran after the farmer’s wife, who cut off their tails with a carving knife. Did you ever see such a sight in your life as three green lights? I know I never have.
I couldn’t find a close parking place downtown, so I surrendered to this parking deck and then I had to park up here on the fourth level. And all of a sudden I feel like part of a Paul McCartney cannabis anecdote, although I should’ve really gone to the seventh level to be true to that story. But what are you going to do? Let’s go look at the sights from up here on high.
There’s the Madison Theater, I wish someone would fix that place up and reopen it. What a waste of a great building.
And there’s the Pere Marquette which will be our next stop on this Main Street eating tour.
Okay, I’ve descended to ground level and I’m hoofing my way towards Commerce Bank and Pepper’s Cafe.
And look, my feets didn’t fail me and here we are, let’s go inside.
Pepper’s is located in the basement, so we’ll take the elevator down. I’ve always thought that Ellie Vator would be a good porn or punk rock name.
We’re here! Signpost ahead...
Pepper’s Cafe is that-a-way!
But first a stop to take a look at this old picture of men standing in front of this building, back when men were men and sheep were nervous. That’s a Chinga Chavin line that I borrowed. Thanks for that moment of amusement, Chinga!
I think that this must be the place and yes, that brings us this Talking Heads flashback alert!
Wow, it’s a lot bigger and nicer in here than I imagined. I was picturing some little lunch counter thing, but this is more than that.
Here’s the front counter, let’s wait over there and see who shows up.
I didn’t have to wait long, this is Frank Pedulla, who along with his wife Angie have owned Pepper’s Cafe for the last nine years. Frank’s originally from Geneva, New York and moved to Peoria in 1989 when he became Corporate Director of Operations for all five of the Jumer’s hotels in the area. In 2002, Frank and Angie bought Jumer's Castle Lodge in Peoria and now they’re here. You can read more about the Frank and Angie right here. Frank said he’d give us a little tour and then we could have lunch.
As I said, it’s a lot bigger in here than what I thought it would be, lots of tables and chairs in here and the artwork on the walls give it a nice atmosphere.
Here’s the coffee corner...excuse me, I’m getting a little verklempt over here...talk amongst yourselves...
A shot from the back of the cafe.
They have a table devoted to reading materials for customers that aren’t obsessed with staring at their phones.
Okay, I’ve worked up a decent appetite, time to have some lunch!
My tray is in place, time to begin the ordering process.
Wow, it looks and smells great here! Frank explained to me that there's different daily specials available along with sandwiches, soups, burgers and salads. Check out the lunch and breakfast menu here.
Here's the lovely Fonda waiting to take our order behind the counter.
I decided to go with the baked potato, which is one of the specials of the day and you can choose from a number of toppings for it. I had Fonda add some taco meat...
I also got some melted cheese poured on top. Mmmm...cheese.
You get a side or a salad with the special so I had Fonda dish me up some pasta salad.
I chose this corner table to sit at.
Stained glass lamps hover overhead and give this lunch a bit of a church-like feel. Can I get an, "Amen?" I knew that I could!
Here's a birds-eye-view of our lunch, it looks fantastic, time to dig in!
The baked potato was delicious, the taco meat and melted cheese made for great and tasty toppings.
The pasta salad gets high marks too, it was fresh and there was whole chunks of cheese in the salad. Mmmm...cheese.
Okay, lunch is over and here's Taylor checking me out of the multi-leveled parking deck. We'll see you all tomorrow!
416 Main Street
Commerce Bank Building—Lower Level
Today’s post was brought to you by Mike's Tavern. Check them and all the other fine businesses helping to support this blog over at the MBIP Bucket List Page. Your Daily Random Linkage awaits you at the bottom of the that page as well!