Time for another awkward edition of, “Can I Eat My Lunch In Here?” where I go and pick up lunch at a local restaurant and then travel to a business to see if I can eat in their lunchroom. It’s always weird and awkward in the beginning, but so far it’s always turned out to be a lot of fun in the end and no one has turned me down yet, so we’ll see what happens today.
There’s a YMCA down the street where I live and I ride by it almost every day. I realized while passing it the other day that I’ve never been in a YMCA. The closest I’ve gotten to that was meeting Randy Jones, the former Cowboy for the Village People at Sardi’s. Here we are pictured below and here’s a link to a Marty After Dark blog about the night I met him.
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to see if they let me eat my lunch at the YMCA. It should be interesting because the letter’s YMCA stand for, “Young Man’s Christian Association,” and seeing that I’m neither a young man nor a Christian might make for an interesting afternoon there! Let’s go get lunch and see if we can eat it at the YMCA!
I thought we’d pick up lunch at Khaki Jack’s which is located minutes from the MBIP World Headquarters and right down the road from the YMCA.
I called ahead and ordered and talked to bartender, Chuck and asked him to prepare a meal that he thought would be perfect to eat at the YMCA. Now all we need to do is find him. Oh, Chuck...
And there he is with our mystery lunch all bagged up! Great to see Chuck and I’m anxious to see what he chose for today’s lunch!
Okay, it’ll be a short trip down Willow Knolls road to...
The Greater Peoria Family YMCA. Right about this time is when I start feeling kind of sick. It’s never fun doing this in the beginning because no one understands the concept at first and it’s always awkward and really uncomfortable. But it must be done and so...
In the doors we go for another edition of, “Can I Eat My Lunch In Here?”
There’s the front desk and since I’ve taken this photo, there’s no turning back now!
Ana is working the front desk and was a little flustered by my request at first and said the only place to eat was the staff lunchroom and that was just for the staff. I explained that’s the place I wanted to eat at and she said she’d have to go ask someone about this. So she went off and I roamed around the lobby and found...
This painting of Ted Fleming! This is cool because I used to work at Fleming Potter and knew Ted. It turns out he was very generous with the YMCA and this painting and plaque is a tribute to him in the front lobby here! Very cool and maybe this will bring me some luck today!
Alright, Ana’s returned and we have the green light for lunch in the YMCA! Ana told me that a staff member would have to accompany me back there and she volunteered for the duty! Very cool!
We had to travel through this kiddie land on the way to the lunchroom. Ana told me that members can bring their kids here while they work out and the children are watched and supervised in this room which serves as a day care center at the YMCA.
It’s quite a hike to the lunchroom, but Ana assures me that we’re almost there. I’m glad because I’m dying to see what Chuck picked out for lunch!
And here we are at the YMCA staff lunchroom. There’s a nice wooden table and chairs and check out the vintage TV set up there...
It’s a Quasar! I love it!
Okay, time to dig in to lunch and see what Chuck packed us up. It’s a burger and fries and it looks and smells fantastic.
The burger has grilled onions and is topped off with mustard and melted blue cheese, time to dig in and have our lunch here at the YMCA!
Ana and I took dueling pictures of ourselves enjoying this luncheon feast. Ana’s a great sport and this turned out to be a lot of fun! She was a blast to have lunch with and we had a great time!
The burger was really tasty and I later called Chuck and found out that it’s their Elk Burger. I’ve never had an Elk Burger and it was really tasty and a lot leaner than your average burger. The grilled onions, melted blue cheese and bakery fresh bun really took it over the top! And the Khaki Jack fries were seasoned perfectly and very delicious!
After lunch we were heading back to the front desk and met Armando who’s a custodian here. Everybody here is really friendly and welcoming and I’m glad I stopped in!
Meanwhile, back at the front desk, Ana introduced me to Edie, who has worked here quite a while and is known as the face of the front desk.
Ana’s shift was over, but she introduced me to Brenda who volunteered to give me a little tour of the YMCA. Nice! Let’s go!
The first stop was the Multi Purpose room where they have Tae Kwon Do classes, cheerleaders use it for practices and the room can also be rented out for parties.
As we traveled along I found out that this place is huge inside! Starting at the top left and moving clockwise is: The front foyer to the exercise rooms, a room filled with exercise bikes, the outside pool and a workout room. If the pool looks familiar to you, maybe you remember it as the former Willow Knolls Country Club pool. Brenda told me that the YMCA is located where that country club once stood and the pool is the same one. It’s also the biggest outdoor pool in Peoria!
Okay, we’ll walk through these doors and find...
A full size basketball court to get your Basketball Jones going on!
Brenda led the way to more stops including a vending area, a ping pong table and an indoor walking track.
There’s also a huge fitness center with weight machines, exercise bikes, crossfit training devices and anything else you can think of. I couldn’t take pictures back there because there were people working out and I totally understood that, but believe me, it’s impressive! Brenda told me that anyone can join the YMCA and the rates are really reasonable, you can check them out right here. Thanks to everyone for being such good sports and it was a great time hanging out at the YMCA! We'll see you all tomorrow!
7221 N. Allen Road
Greater Peoria Family YMCA
7000 N. Fleming Lane