Dining Along Route 66 in Illinois’ Land of Lincoln
By Idoia Gkikas
For your next road trip, head out on an adventure along legendary Route 66, the Mother Road from its birthplace in Chicago to the state capital of Springfield, through an area known as the Land of Lincoln. As you visit historic sites and soak up the nostalgia of this world-famous road, you’re bound to work up a hearty appetite.
After stopping in beautiful Pontiac, with its downtown covered with colourful Route 66 murals, and visiting the Pontiac Oakland Automobile Museum, with its many classic cars, push on to Atlanta and its famous diner.
The Palms Grill Café in Atlanta
No matter what time of day, stop in this cute little town and pay a visit to the historic Palms Grill Café, which opened in 1934 and retains much of its original charm. A black and white checkered floor and old-fashioned lunch counter have welcomed hungry travelers for decades. The atmosphere was wonderful inside the diner as I enjoyed my afternoon with a coffee and a slice of homemade blueberry pie.
Their pies are popular and award-winning, so arrive early for the best selection. You’ll have to choose between cherry, peach, pumpkin and strawberry rhubarb. The Blue Plate Specials draw raves, as do many items on its breakfast menu.
Directly across the road from the diner, you´ll find the huge Bunyons Giant statue holding a hotdog, one of the many landmarks you can discover along Route 66 (two other giant statues in the same mold can be found along Route 66 in the Land of Lincoln). Get in the nostalgic spirit and have your photo taken with this throwback to an earlier age.
Diners in Joliet and More
Joliet, Wilmington and other towns along the way have diners and family-style restaurants that take you back to the golden age of family road trips and exploring the wide-open road by car. Stop in for breakfast, lunch, dinner or an ice cream soda or slice of pie and cup of coffee.
In Springfield, your midpoint destination on your Route 66 adventure, diners with nostalgic memorabilia keep the memory of historic Route 66 alive.
The Land of Lincoln has several vineyards, some of which host wine festivals, country dinners and other special events. Call ahead for details.