Hershey’s Ice Cream – Bradley, IL

20 06 2009
  • 1600 N. State Route 50
  • Bradley, IL 60914
  • (815) 929-1123
  • Website
  • Menu
Hersheys Ice Cream in Northfield Square Mall

Hershey's Ice Cream in Northfield Square Mall

J and I wrapped up our week of wedding planning in Illinois by picking out the tuxedo’s.  I wanted to go to a regional chain in Bradley, IL at Northfield Square Mall because all of the guys in the wedding live pretty close to one of the locations.  As we entered the mall, the first thing J noticed was an ice cream store.  When I was growing up, that location was a Baskin Robbins.  Not anymore.

Did you know Hershey’s made ice cream?  Me neither.  Fact is, they don’t.  Until I made my way to Hersheysicecream.com, I would have assumed they were affiliated with the famous candy company, but, in small print, on the bottom of the website are the words “not affiliated with Hershey’s Chocolate.”  They had me fooled.

Like I already mentioned, this Hershey’s Ice Cream location is in Northfield Square Mall in Bradley near JC Penny and the Ruby Tuesday.  It’s a small corner shop with entrances on both sides.  There was only one girl working when we were in there, but it was the middle of the afternoon on a Wednesday.  There were two people in front of us, so we had a few minutes to look over the flavors.  Read the rest of this entry »





Oberweis Ice Cream & Dairy Store – Bradley, IL

5 02 2009
  • 840 N. Kinzie Avenue
  • Bradley, IL 60915
  • (815) 932-4666
  • Website
  • Menu
The Oberweis Ice Cream and Dairy Store on Kinzie Avenue in Bradley, IL

The Oberweis Ice Cream and Dairy Store on Kinzie Avenue in Bradley, IL

I have a love/hate relationship with Oberweis.  I love their milk and ice cream.  I hate their owner.  Jim Oberweis is a name every Illinoisan knows.  It would be hard not to.  He’s ran for and lost just about every public office in Illinois.  He’s the king of saying something stupid and can’t make it out of a primary.  Usually, he does more damage to the Republican party by running a smear campaign in the primary that gives the Democratic challenge in the general election a head start.  Case in point, the last gubernatorial election.  He ran a smear campaign against rival GOPer Judy Bar Topinka showing her dancing with incarcerated former Governor George Ryan.  He called it, “The Pay-To-Play Polka.”  When he lost the primary, Topinka’s Democratic opponent and incumbent, Rod Blagojevich started using the same video and same tag lines against Topika driving home the connection to her and Ryan.   Blagojevich won and now Illinois is the political laughing stock of the country.

Oberweis milk on the other hand, is the best cow juice you will ever have.  I hate buying it because all it does is fund another failing campaign, but I just can’t help it.  I started buying the milk six years ago before I really knew who Jim Oberwies was.  The thing that drew me to it was the glass bottles.  No plastic here.  All Oberweis milk is sold in glass bottles. I picked one up at the store and fell in love with the stuff.  I’m not really a milk drinker, but I was drinking three or four gallons a week. Read the rest of this entry »





Taco John’s – Bradley, IL

20 12 2008
  • 484 S. Kennedy Drive
  • Bradley, IL 60915
  • (815) 939-3064
  • Website
  • Menu
Taco Johns on Kennedy Drive in Bradley, IL

Taco John's on Kennedy Drive in Bradley, IL

There aren’t many chain restaurants that I miss, but Taco John’s is one of them.  Everyone always thought I was crazy for preferring Taco John’s over Taco Bell, but I loved Taco John’s. 

When I was growing up, they used to give free tacos for A’s on your report card.  You’d bring in the report card, they’d give you a taco then mark the report card so you couldn’t try to use it again.  As stupid as it sounds, it was always an incentive to get A’s.  We knew if we did, we get a trip for tacos.

Once we got too old for that, we would always hit up the store on Tuesday for “Taco Tuesday”  All tacos were half price and my mom could feed two growing boys for half price.  Not a bad deal.

Taco John’s kind of fell out of my life until I moved to Peoria.  I worked in one of Peoria’s suburbs and right down the street was a Taco John.  I know this is going to surprise most people, but folks working in small town television news make about the same as fast food employees who don’t have thousands of dollars in student loans to pay off, so anytime I could pick up a cheap meal, I did.  Every Tuesday, you could find me at the Taco John’s where I could get six hardshell tacos for under $4. Read the rest of this entry »





Jack Breslin Student Events Center

7 12 2008
  • 1 Birch Road
  • East Lansing, MI 48824
  • (517) 432-1989
  • Website
The view from our seats for a Michigan State basketball game at the Breslin Center

The view from our seats for a Michigan State basketball game at the Breslin Center

A year ago, when I stood in the Peoria Civic Center and watched Bradley University almost upset Michigan State, I never imagined that I would see this year’s Bradley/MSU from a seat in the Breslin Center.  Earlier in the week, J and I made sugar cookies like we do every year from my grandma’s recipe.  She took a few to work and one of her co-workers said he’d like some more.  He’s got access to MSU basketball tickets and I offered up a trade.  Two dozen home made sugar cookies for two tickets to the Michigan State vs. Bradley basketball game.  I lived up to my end of the bargain and two days later, J came home with a pair of tickets.

I have been to a number of college basketball games, but surprisingly, never as a spectator.  I do a lot of work for sports networks that broadcast these games and that’s how I usually go…including last year’s MSU/Bradley game that was aired on ESPNU.  I had been to the Breslin Center one other time, but that was for a volleyball game earlier in the year, so I was really looking forward to getting to go to a game.  J had never been to a college basketball game either, so it was a treat for both of us.

Before we ever got inside the Breslin Center, I already had a sour taste in my mouth.  Parking sucks.  Really sucks.  I tried looking online for a parking map before we left, but couldn’t find anything.  There were no signs directing you to a public lot and everything near the arena had a temporary sign out front that said those lots were for passes only.  I finally found a paid lot on Kalamazoo heading back towards Lansing and by the time we got there, it was almost full.  We were one of the last cars they let in and one of the parking attendants had to move their car to create more parking spaces.  The spaces were really tight and my mid-size truck didn’t want to fit very well.  Had we not left the game five minutes early, leaving would have been a mess. Read the rest of this entry »





Luconi’s Pizza – Bradley, IL

3 10 2008
  • 496 S. Kennedy Dr
  • Bradley, IL 60915
  • (815) 935-5235
  • Website
  • Menu
Luconis Pizza on Kennedy Dr. in Bradley, IL

Luconi's Pizza on Kennedy Dr. in Bradley, IL

Finding places to eat in the Kankakee area has always been tough for me.  Growing up, my parents always hit the chains.  We didn’t really go out of our way looking for local restaurants.  I’m back in the Kankakee area this week because my brother and his wife are having a baby.  Their first and my parents first grandchild.  Because it was everyone’s first, my parents and my sister-in-laws parents were at the hospital bright and early this morning.  I didn’t get up and get going until lunch time.  The hospital is a half hour away so once I was in Kankakee, I wasn’t going home until I had a niece. 

I got to the hospital around 11 and started trying to convince everyone to go to lunch with me.   I got no takers, but did get some good suggestions.  My sister-in-law’s parents suggested a few places including Luconi’s.  They raved about the pizza, but also couldn’t stop talking about the hamburger.  Sounds good to me.  I do love me some burgers.

I found Luconi’s Pizza on Kennedy drive next to the Taco John’s we always went to when I was kid.  The last time I lived in the area, the building where the pizza joint now is was a cyber cafe.  It’s a really small building with a really small parking lot.  I found a space along the side and parked there.  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 »





Mancino’s Pizza and Grinders

5 06 2008
  • 6520 S. Cedar #4BMancino's Pizza and Grinders
  • Lansing, MI 48911
  • (517) 887-6300
  • Website
  • Menu

I’m going to try not to confuse you, but I’m still a little bit confused myself.  Growing up, my family would always eat at Mancino’s Pizza and Grinder’s in Bradley, IL.  I loved the sandwiches.  So, is this the same Mancino’s?  I’ve been searching the net for days and can’t come up with a good answer.  There’s no corporate website that links the two together.  I found another Mancino’s website that lists the Mancino’s on Clippert and that one is linked Samuel Mancino who is from St. Clair Shores, MI and started this concept for a store.  This website doesn’t list either the store on S. Cedar or the two in Bradley that I’ve always eaten at.  To make things even more confusing, there is a chain called Bellacino’s Pizza and Grinders which had stores in Peoria, IL where I lived the last five years.  Bellacino’s had the same menu and made the exact same sandwiches that Mancino’s did, but there is no Bradley store listed on their website either.  On their franchise info page, they say that the recipes are those of Samuel Mancino.  So, are all these stores related?  I still have no freakin clue………… Read the rest of this entry »