Eddie’s Bar & Grill – Kankakee, IL

20 06 2009
  • 1875 W. Station Street
  • Kankakee, IL 60901
  • (815) 939-3972
  • Website
  • Menu
Eddies Bar & Grill on Station Street in Kankakee, IL

Eddie's Bar & Grill on Station Street in Kankakee, IL

Here’s the dilemma when J and I go to my parents house.  We either drive twenty minutes to Kankakee for lunch or we eat whatever Lean Cuisine my parents have the in the freezer.  Growing up in a small town, I never noticed that there wasn’t a restaurant on every corner, but since I’ve moved away, it’s become more noticeable.  I like to eat out and I like to eat at different places.  That’s hard to do in a town that only has one restaurant.

So, J and I made the choice to drive to Kankakee.  We had some other things to do anyway, so the trip wasn’t totally pointless.  We waited around until my mom came home for lunch so we could see her and make plans for the evening.  The next part of the battle was finding a restaurant.  I know the Kankakee metro is littered with hidden gems, but no one I know eats at anything other than chains.  I ended up remembering a place my brother told me he heard from friends was pretty good. 

Eddie’s Bar & Grill is on Station Street in Kankakee near West Court Street.  The only directions I could remember from my brother were “in the old Pizza Hut next to the bowling alley.”  J told me to call him and get an address, but I knew that’ the directions I would get.  No one knows street names….they all go by landmarks.  Read the rest of this entry »

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One Sixty Four North – Kankakee, IL

5 02 2009
  • 164 N. Schuyler Avenue
  • Kankakee, IL 60901
  • (815) 936-0164
  • Website
  • Menu
One Sixty Four North in downtown Kankakee, IL

One Sixty Four North in downtown Kankakee, IL

Whenever I go to my parents house, I run into the problem of “where do we eat today?”    There’s not a lot of options in a town of 750 people.  The closest “big town” is Kankakee a half hour to the north.  J and I tossed around a couple options, but then I decided I was going to make dinner for my brother and dad tonight since my mom and sister-in-law were working.  In order to do that, I had to find a grocery store…again, a half hour to the north.  Since we were going anyway, I told J we’d just eat in Kankakee. 

One Sixty Four North is on North Schuyler Street near the Paramount Theater in downtown Kankakee.  Growing up, there wasn’t much in this area.  The only thing we went downtown for was a movie.  Most of the people I know are not adventurous eaters.  They prefer their Applebees and Arby’s, so asking about a local establishment is sort of like talking in Greek.  I had asked a few people about One Sixty Four North and the answer I always got was “heard it was good, but too expensive for us to try.”  I checked out the menu on-line and it looked pretty reasonably priced to me. Read the rest of this entry »





Jewel-Osco – Kankakee, IL

20 12 2008
  • 446 S. Washington Ave
  • Kankakee, IL 60901
  • (815) 935-2040
  • Website
The Jewel-Osco store on Washington Avenue in Kankakee.

The Jewel-Osco store on Washington Avenue in Kankakee.

When you grow up in a small town, the closest supermarket isn’t always just around the corner.  In our case, the closest supermarket is a half hour away.  My family doesn’t have the luxury of deciding what they want for dinner then running to the store to get it.  I grew up in a time where there were no hypermarkets and supermarkets were a once a month trip.  The only one of those big chains that is still around today is Jewel-Osco.

Jewel-Osco started life and Jewel Food Stores and Osco Drugs.  Somewhere along the line, they merged to become Jewel-Osco.  The weird thing was, they were almost always in the same building and connected.  Osco was more like Walgreens with some items and Jewel did the food thing.  When other supermarkets started doing pharmacy’s along with some merchandise, Jewel and Osco just merged together.  I remember how this store used to be set up and it always seemed dumb.  There were two separate entrances and a hallway connecting the two stores, but you had to pay for each stores merchandise in their store.  Now, pretty much all Jewel-Osco stores are in the same building even though both brands usually have their own management teams and marketing identity. 

Jewel is pretty unique to Illinois although you can find stores in eastern Iowa and Northwest Indiana.  The homebase is in Melrose Park. Read the rest of this entry »





Brickstone Brewery – Bourbonnais, IL

5 10 2008
  • 557 William Latham Dr.
  • Bourbonnais, IL 60914
  • (815) 936-9277
  • Website
  • Menu
Brickstone Brewery on William Lathan Dr. in Bourbonnais, IL

Brickstone Brewery on William Lathan Dr. in Bourbonnais, IL

After a couple long days at the hospital, I needed some real food.  I grabbed my mom and we headed to Bourbonnais (home of the Chicago Bears training camp) for some grub.  Brickstone Brewery is still one of the hottest places in the Kankakee area.  We went to dinner on a Friday night knowing we could be heading into a wait.  You see, if you get there after 5:00 on a weekend, you will probably have a wait.  We got there about ten minutes before 5:00 and were lucky enough to get a table without a wait.

Brickstone is located where the former Greenbriar Restaurant used to be.  Brickstone is a total overhaul.  Having lived in a couple different cities over the last decade, I’ve gotten used to finding restaurants like this, but Kankakee has never seen any place like this.  Brickstone is a brew pub.  They brew their own brews, but they’re smart enough to have the domestic staples on hand.  In a place like Lansing, you could get away with just having your beers.  Not in Kankakee.  They’d be out of business if they tried that.

That night was also Game 2 of the ALDS featuring the Chicago White Sox.  When we were seated in the dining room, I made sure I sat where I could see one of the LCD TV’s in the corner.  Yes, they had TV’s in the dining room.  The interior design is, again, nothing like anything else in Kankakee.  It’s got the same feel as most brew pubs which is the exposed, dark woods.  We were seated at a booth along the wall.  We were pretty close to the bar, so there was a lot of noise from the game that carried over which was ok with me.  That way, I knew when to look up at the TV. Read the rest of this entry »





Poor Boy Restaurant – Kankakee, IL

5 10 2008
  • 1514 E. Court St.
  • Kankakee, IL 60901
  • (815) 939-1880
  • No Known Website
  • No Online Menu
Poor Boy Restaurant on Court Street in Kankakee, IL

Poor Boy Restaurant on Court Street in Kankakee, IL

After twelve hours, I finally got to welcome my niece into this world.  Needless to say, after twelve hours, my sister-in-law was exhausted and hungry.  Her first meal post delivery was Wendy’s, but the next day, she wanted something deep fried.  I went back to the hospital hoping I could hold her again, but she was put under the blue lights due to the jaundice, so instead, I just got to hang out with my brother and sister-in-law. 

About 3:00, the new mom decided she was hungry, but the hospital kitchen stopped serving.  No bid deal.  LIke I said, she was really in the mood for deep fried anyway.  When she worked at a flower shop on Kankakee’s southside, Poor Boy Restaurant was a frequent stop for lunch. Read the rest of this entry »





Blue’s Cafe – Kankakee, IL

3 10 2008
  • 1190 W. Station St.
  • Kankakee, IL 60901
  • (815) 933-5315
  • No Known Website
  • No Online Menu
Blues Cafe on Station Street in Kankakee, IL

Blue's Cafe on Station Street in Kankakee, IL

If you watch ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson, Blue’s Cafe is a place you may actually heard of.  A few weeks ago (September 18 to be exact) Barbara Pinto showed up in Kankakee to do a Wall Street vs. Main St. story.  Blue’s Cafe was one of the places she visited to get the “regular Joe” insight into the financial crisis.

Blue’s Cafe is a spot that many people in the area automatically suggest when I ask for a local restaurant.  According to my brother, the food is ok, but the pie is to die for.  As I was waiting with my family for my niece to be born, my aunt mentioned she was hungry and hadn’t eaten all day.  Since I’m always hungry, I offered to go to “lupper” (the meal between lunch and supper) with her.  Since everybody always suggests it, I said “How about Blue’s?”

Blue’s Cafe is located on Station Street not far from the hospital.  It’s a very plain building with an old sign out front adorned with an old Pepsi logo and the words “Blue’s Cafe.”  Since we got there at such a wierd time, the dining room was fairly empty.  There are two dining rooms that probably used to be the smoking and non-smoking section before Illinois got smart and banned smoking in public places.  There’s also a lunch counter near the kitchen in the first dining room. Read the rest of this entry »





Bull’s Pit Smoked BBQ – Kankakee, IL

25 08 2008
  • 125 W. Staion St.
  • Kankakee, IL 60901
  • (815) 932-2399
  • Website
  • Menu
Bulls Pit Smoked BBQ in Kankakee, IL

Bull's Pit Smoked BBQ in Kankakee, IL

Kankakee is the closest big town comapred to the tiny town of 750 people where I grew up.  People who live in that small town, work in the Kankakee/Bradley/Bourbonnais tri-city area and they do a majority of their shopping, entertaining and dining out there as well.  For the longest time, I had the same complaint about Kankakee that I did about Lansing.  There was no good barbecue joint.  That finally changed at the beginning of 2008.

A girl I went to high school with and her husband opened up the first BBQ joint in the area that I’m aware of.  They turned an old building near downtown Kankakee into a great Memphis style smokehouse.  I made my first trip to Bull’s just after it opened with my brother.  At that time, I had a few complaints, but loved the BBQ.  My girlfriend and I were heading from her parents in Chicago to mine south of Kankakee for a weekend of drinking and catching up with old friends.  Along the way, I wanted to stop and try Bull’s again to see if the little things I didn’t like had improved.

Like I said, Bull’s is located just off of downtown Kankakee.  Downtown has been run down for years and there’s not much there other than a bank, a liquor store, and a movie theater.  There’s a couple business along the main road, but nothing that you would make a destination.  Bull’s changes that.  The business is located in a pretty non-descript building on Station St.  There is a parking lot, but we found spot on the street in front of the store.  There’s just a sign out front that lets you know you’re in the right place…that is until you get out and smell the smoke.  Once inside, you have to make a left to get to the order counter.  The layout is a little wierd with two rooms downstairs.  One is the kitchen/order area.  The other is the dining room.  There are only a few tables, but there is a bar that runs the whole length of the room with pub stools.  It really gives the feel of a Southern BBQ lunch spot.  The staircase to go to the upstairs dining room is right as you enter the door.  It’s a massive feature and takes up and good portion of the building.  Read the rest of this entry »