One of my plans for this tour was to do a mini tour of the food carts downtown next spring and see how many of them had steak on their carts. Well I found out last week that there’s still a cart taking advantage of this unusually warm weather and it’s the lone cart still in operation down there. The cart is Willie’s Tamale’s cart and they have a delicious ribeye steak sandwich that sells out quickly, so let’s get down there before they're all gone for the day!
And here we are on Adams Street near the Courthouse Square. As you can see, there’s many others that are taking advantage of the weather and enjoying the sandwiches and tamales from Willie’s cart. As I got into line I saw a familiar face there and it’s MBIP pal, Terry Grawey! Notice the look on Terry’s face, he wasn’t in the mood to wait in the long line so...
He just barged in front of everyone and demanded a sandwich and some tamales. Well that’s one way to move ahead...I just pretended like I didn’t know him...
And stayed in the line, like a civilized person does. I finally made my way up to the grill and got a smoky photo of the two folks making the sandwiches and tamales. Willie’s Tamales has been a staple of Peoria for over 30 years and was the first food truck in this city. Sadly Willie passed away a few years ago, but his family has kept the food and spirit of Willie’s alive here in downtown Peoria. I ordered a ribeye sandwich and they quickly got to work grilling it up!
In addition to the ribeye steak sandwiches and homemade tamales, there’s also pork chop sandwiches, brats, polish sausage, Italian beef and chicken sandwiches. Everything here is really tasty and grilled and seasoned to delicious perfection! There’s my ribeye cooking up on the grill and it looks so good!
After I got the steak, i decided to wander up Main Street to Riley’s Cupcake and Coffee Lounge and have a combination meal of steak and a cupcake!
Riley took over this space eight months ago and has turned it into a sweet spot on Main Street! She serves up fresh coffee and delicious homemade cupcakes and other baked goodies in here. She was recently featured in our People of Peoria series and if you missed that you can check it out here. Riley said I was more than welcome to eat my sandwich in here so I got a bottle of water and went to the front dining area to eat my sandwich. Hey, look who had the same idea, Terry Grawey! Of course he got here first because he didn’t wait in line like a normal person does. Riley took a picture of the two of us at our table and now it’s time to check out the grilled ribeye steak sandwich!
Wow, it looks so delicious! I got it with grilled onions and as you can see they pile them on and they add a nice flavor and crunch to the sandwich. The steak is juicy, tender, nicely seasoned and it’s such a treat to be eating a ribeye steak sandwich that’s grilled outside in the winter! Willie’s is a legendary food cart and if you’ve never sampled their sandwiches you should go and see if the cart is still open this week. I can’t imagine it’s going to be there much longer as the temperatures are going to start dropping, so you should do yourself a favor and stop by while they’re still serving these up!
Terry was a little upset because he didn’t have a knife and fork to eat his sandwich. Personally I was thrilled to see him finally eating a sandwich like a man! You’ve come a long way Terry and I’m proud of you! For those of you that don’t know, Terry does entertaining hypnotist shows around town and you can check out his website here. I kid him a lot, but you should really check out his hypnotist show, it’s such a unique and entertaining evening. Terry bills himself as a “Hypnohumorist” and he combines comedy, hypnotism and crowd participation and it’s such a fun show! I not only saw his show a while back but I ended up getting hypnotized by him! Check out that post here and his next show is January 20th at the Kickapoo Creek Winery and tickets will be available soon on his website.
After we ate our steak sandwiches we went and picked out cupcakes for dessert! Riley bakes these fresh every day and they are such a sweet treat! As you can see, there’s a lot of selections including vegan and dairy free, so there’s something for everyone here. Terry and I picked out our cupcakes and there’s Riley serving them up with a pretty smile!
I got a chocolate and vanilla combination and it was heavenly! The cupcake itself is light and tasty and frosting is not to be believed! What a great ending to a fantastic lunch!
Of course when you eat lunch with Terry, there’s always going to be an upsetting moment and he had to eat his cupcake with a fork, like a little girl. Oh well, it could’ve been worse, at least he didn’t slather ranch dressing all over it!
After lunch we took a look around in Riley’s Cupcake and Coffee Lounge and Riley’s done a great job in here. There’s the cupcake and coffee specials on the chalkboard and cupcake art on the walls. The front counter not only has some great coffee to go with the tasty cupcakes there’s also frosted cupcake taffy and oatmeal maple cream pies. Those look so tasty, I need to try one on my next visit here!
Right behind the giganzo Christmas tree is a nice back room that you can rent out for a party and it would be a great spot for a Christmas get together.
There’s Riley posing next to a painting of her floating above a giant cupcake by Dean Thomas and below that is custom-made Riley’s Cupcake art by renowned artist, Quinton Thomas. Very cool and thanks to Riley for letting us eat our lunch in there and for the delicious cupcakes for dessert! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
Three and Three Quarters Elsie the Cows—This is such a tasty grilled ribeye steak sandwich, but you better hurry and get one soon, I bet the cart won’t be open much longer and then you’ll have to wait for next spring to have one! Do yourself a favor and walk up the street and get a delicious cupcake from Riley's for dessert after the sandwich! And thanks to loyal MBIP reader Matt Wetzel for letting me know that they were still open and selling sandwiches!
Near the corner of Main and Adams near the Courthouse square
315 Main Street