Last month I started a new series here on MBIP where I go to a shopping area or spot that has a cluster of restaurants and stop in at each one, meet the people there, take some photos and have a taste of a signature dish there. It’s my own personal taste of Peoria and this week since school is back in session, I thought I’d go to Campustown and sample some of the food at the restaurants located there. So I hope you’re hungry, because here we go for a...Taste of Campustown!
The Fieldhouse Bar & Grill
The People: Molly (top) and Chris (bottom.)
The Place: The Fieldhouse has been a go-to spot in Campustown for both Bradley students and Peoria locals for over seven years now. The bar has a sports feel with large screen TV’s hovering the perimeter of the bar and grill and sports jerseys and memorabilia decorating the walls. In addition to a large selection of craft, domestic and rotating draft beers, the menu has been expanded lately with a large selection of appetizers, specialty sandwiches and pizzas and a build your own burger menu. Molly told me that they’ve really been concentrating on making fresh, housemade items, cooked to order. There’s also a large back room you can rent out for parties and special events. Links: Website and facecrack.
The Taste: This isn’t my first meal at the Fieldhouse, I tried out the build your own burger menu on my last trip here in June. Molly suggested I try the pulled pork sandwich with homemade potato chips and it was a marvelous suggestion! The sandwich comes with a pile of fresh and crisp cole slaw on top of a generous serving of fresh and succulent pulled pork. The pork was really juicy and flavorful and I loved the spicy barbecue sauce that’s served on the side. The bun was really fresh and nicely toasted and I really enjoyed the sandwich. A lot of people boast “homemade chips” on the menu, but a lot of those chips usually end up tasting frozen, but the homemade potato chips at The Fieldhouse are made fresh and cooked to order and they complimented the sandwich perfectly!
Little Raven Creamery
The People: Steven (left), Addyson (right) and Lauren (bottom.)
The Place: Little Raven Creamery is a fairly new addition to Campustown, they just opened up last February, but in that short time they’ve created quite a buzz for themselves in Peoria. the place has a comfortable and cozy feel to it and the staff is friendly and helpful with menu selections. The restaurant has a nice bohemian feel to it with local Peoria artwork decorating the walls. The menu has varied choices from bakery fresh cupcakes, sweet ice cream treats, savory comfort sandwiches and homemade soups and salads. Links: Website and facecrack.
The Taste: I had to try the Cakeshake here at Little Raven Creamery. I’ve heard and read so much about it, basically it’s a cupcake or a brownie, blended with ice cream to create a combination of a cake and a milkshake. I chose a red velvet cupcake with a swirl of soft-serve vanilla and chocolate ice cream. The Cakeshake is served up in a sturdy glass jar and it is so delicious, creamy and sweet-tooth satisfying! A perfect dessert or snack. The sandwiches on the menu look delicious too and we’ll be returning for our Year of the Sandwich tour here on MBIP, so stay tuned for that!
Bellacino's Pizza & Grinders
The Person: Mijke
The Place: You order at the front counter and then the food is brought to you when it’s prepared. The dining room is large with lots tables for seating and wooden booths line the walls. The decor is mainly ads for different sandwiches and menu items. Be prepared for a small wait as all of the sandwiches and menu items are made fresh as you order them. Link: facecrack page.
The Taste: Mijke suggested I try the Italian Grinder which is the signature sandwich at Bellacino’s and after sampling it I can see why she suggested it. The sandwich has a smorgasbord of ingredients on it including: Ham, sausage, salami, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. The ingredients are all toasted on the sandwich intermingling with the melted cheese and it’s really a tasty and declicious sandwich. Just a little spicy and the bread is unbelievable! It’s baked fresh daily and toasted to a crispy perfection.
Happy Fish Sushi
The People: Cassie (left), Toren (right) and Andrew (bottom.)
The Place: The seating inside is all booths with additional seats at the sushi bar which lines the front side wall. It’s got a nighttime vibe to it, even in the middle of the day, which I appreciate! There’s a hand-painted mural on the far side wall and the place has a nice friendly and welcoming vibe and atmosphere inside the restaurant. LInks: Website and facecrack.
The Taste: This place has a ton of sushi selections on the menu. There’s 18 traditional rolls and 19 specialty rolls to choose from. Plus there’s a nice selection of appetizers and stir-fry meals. In addition there’s different daily specials and Toren suggested the special of the day, the Firecracker sushi roll, so that’s what I had. The firecracker roll consists of Tempura spicy tuna, cream cheese, avocado, cucumbers and asparagus. It was fresh and delicious and the tuna was almost sausage-like in it’s consistency and really tasty with just a hint of spicy flavor coming through which played nicely off of the rich cream cheese in the roll.
Steak & Fries
The Person: Ed.
The Place: Steak & Fries is a sandwich joint and it has the basic no-frills appearance of one. This is a family-owned restaurant and they’ve been in business here in Peoria since 1991. There’s booths lining the shotgun space in here and menus are about the only decor you’ll find in here. It’s clean, but don’t expect a lot of small talk with the staff behind the counter, best just to order your sandwich and grab a booth and wait for your name to be called. Links: Website.
The Taste: There’s 17 types of sandwiches to be had in here along with gyros and a Philly Burger. And of course, as the name says, there’s also fries along with cheese sticks or onion rings if you feel like branching out. Ed suggested the Philly Steak, so that’s what I ordered. It was different than any other Philly Steak sandwich I’ve ever had. The steak was thinly sliced and the seasoning gave it a bit of a flavor similar to an gyro. It was topped with grilled onions, tomato, lettuce and melted provolone cheese. The cheese was more of a sauce than traditional melted cheese and the sandwich was housed in a soft tortilla-like wrap. It was really tasty and kind of like a combination of a burrito meets a gyro via a Philly Steak Sandwich. It’s quite a unique and tasty sandwich and I’ll be returning to try the other selections and next time I’ll try the fries too!
The People: I had a little trouble conveying what I was trying to do here and it was kind of lost in translation, so I didn’t get any photos of the people behind the counter and it was the start of a somewhat awkward experience. It's not their fault either, it was just kind of a confusing and well, awkward visit.
The Place: This is a to-go Chinese restaurant, so the ambiance and decor is pretty simple inside with just a couple of tables to sit at if you choose to dine inside. I have to admit it was a little uncomfortable for me because they couldn’t figure out what it was I was trying to do and at one point I had to talk to the owner on the phone and try to explain it to him. Sometimes it’s not easy being me! Links: Website.
The Taste: Panda House has all the standard Chinese food selections and appetizers and I chose the Hunan Chicken lunch special. The order was packed with food and easily could’ve been split between two people. It came with egg fried rice, chicken, vegetables and two pieces of Crab Rangoon. It was nicely prepared and while it wasn’t the finest Chinese food I’ve ever had, it certainly wasn’t the worst either and for $6.95, the Hunan Chicken special is a great bargain for all the food you get.
Jimador Authentic Mexican Cuisine
The People: Rudy (top) and Taquechy (bottom.)
The Place: Jimador is a festive and fun Mexican restaurant in Campustown. The staff and servers are all friendly and inside the atmosphere is like the inside of a colorful piñata! The dining room is large with tables and booths on either side and a nice little bar in the back. The menu is extensive and the food is all made from scratch and authentic Mexican dishes. And there’s a nice selection of beer and of course maragaritas and if you’re really thirsty, try out the 27 ounce margarita! Links: Website and facecrack.
The Taste: Jimador has a full Mexican menu from everything you’d expect like tacos, burritos and tamales to more exotic dishes from their family recipes. All the food here is cooked fresh to order and it is authentic and true Mexican dining. Rudy suggested I try the Chili Verde and it was so good! It’s succulent pieces of seasoned pork in a savory sauce and topped with rich, melted cheese. The cheese and the pork blended so well together and it was really a delicious dinner and a wonderful way to end my Taste of Campustown!
This was a delicious sampling of food and fun from Campustown. You should stop by and check out all these fine local dining establishments in that area, it’s not just for Bradley students! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
Campustown Shopping Center
1200 W Main Street
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Happy Birthday Danielle!
It’s my friend, Danielle’s birthday today and I hope you’ll join me in wishing her a happy birthday! I met Danielle way back when I was first starting this blog and it was through this visit that I reconnected with my friend Amber and we’ve all been friends and have been living somewhat happily ever-after since that meeting! Here’s some pictures of Danielle and her friends that have been featured here on MBIP!
And here’s my favorite all-time picture of Danielle, the legendary, double-fisted drinking photo!
Happy Birthday, Danielle, I hope you have the day off from work, but if not, I hope that your good friend Mr. Vee comes to visit you at lunch time! Have a great day and an even better evening, love you and Happy Birthday from me and all of us at MBIP!