My wife and I try and seek out local restaurants who really take pride in the quality of their food. We avoid the “usual” large chain restaurant such as Chili’s, Applebee’s, TGIF, etc because these restaurants tend to have low-quality food with poor quality meat and ingredients, packed with sodium and bad fats and much of the food is prepared and cooked ahead of time, frozen and shipped to the restaurant locations where most of the food is simply warmed up and put together and then served to the patrons. We prefer places where the food is actually made fresh on location with a menu that varies based on the season and, as an added bonus, sourced locally.
On our anniversary, August 19th, we went to Epiphany Farms in downtown Bloomington, IL. They locally source most if not all of their food and make everything, including butter, from scratch. This was my second visit and Sarah’s first. The entire meal from start to finish was excellent and had a freshness to it that the chain restaurants don’t have. I had the eggplant parmesan and Sarah had the filet mignon. We had the Korean lettuce wrap as an appetizer and, since it was an anniversary celebration, indulged in souflee’ and coffee for dessert. Appetizer, drinks, entree, dessert, coffee and tip put us around $110 so it wasn’t cheap although it was quite a bit of delicious food and great atmosphere. http://www.epiphanyfarms.com/
We also recently visited Kemp 208 in Morton, IL. This is an old house converted into a restaurant. Like Epiphany Farms, they try and locally source most of their food and prepare and make everything on site. I had the Cuban sandwich (minus the bread of course) which was braised pork, smoked ham, swiss cheese, whole grain mustard and topped with pickles with a mix of brussel sprouts and potatoes on the side. My wife had a burger and said it was great. It was very good and reasonably priced and with tip it cost about $30. http://kemp208.com/
Cuban sandwich (no bun), brussel sprouts and potatoes
Another nice thing about these locally owned restaurants is that they oftentimes can accommodate various food preferences as they actually know what is in their food! The mega chain restaurants can’t as easily cater to people’s preferences since much of their food is prepared ahead of time and packed with various preservatives and other hidden nasty ingredients such as trans fats, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, soy and gluten (amongst others).
That’s it for today–go and check out some locally owned restaurants that care about quality ingredients!