In a state known for its world-class restaurants and cuisine, Illinois locals still appreciate mom and pop restaurants that serve classic homestyle meals. Many of the restaurants on this list have been open for decades, and how little has changed is what keeps locals coming back. Recipes like southern-style fried chicken or indulgent breakfast cooked on the flat top skillet are beloved by midwesterners. The best restaurants in Illinois have a reputation for offering delicious home-cooked meals. And they are a must-try for visitors.
1. White Palace Grill
This well known Chicago diner is the epitome of mom and pop dining. Chicago is not necessarily known for its old school diners, but White Palace Grill does the job for those craving some classic diner fare. Its location in the South Loop of Chicago puts it at the center of an endless number of highly acclaimed restaurants but continues to be one of the best restaurants in Illinois and a popular hot spot during lunch and late-night hours.
2. Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket
This sweet little restaurant has been known and loved across many generations of locals living in Willowbrook, Illinois. Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket is a neighborhood staple, opening up in 1938. They serve delicious homestyle meals but are best known for their fried chicken, which is the indisputable best chicken in the Chicago area. The restaurant is also located off Route 66 in Illinois, so it is convenient must stop for traveling tourists.
3. Jeri’s Grill
Jeri’s Grill is a neighborhood favorite, located in Chicago, in the Ravenswood neighborhood. Ravenswood is known to locals as an emerging hot spot for food and drinks, and Jeri’s Grill is among them. Jeri’s Grill was open long before Ravenswood became trendy, over fifty years ago. Diners can expect diner classics done well, indulgent breakfast, hearty dinners, and tasty desserts.
4. Paradise Pup
This tasty dinner is locally famous but has also been featured on television due to its combination of fast, cheap and of course delicious menu items. Those looking for a homestyle meal can look no further than Illinois’ own Des Plaines. This cash-only spot is a walk-up counter, with no seating other than the picnic tables that surround the building. Diners can choose from an array of freshly made burgers, sandwiches, and other diner-style classics.
5. Glenn’s Diner
Glenn’s Diner is another tasty favorite located in Ravenswood, Chicago. Their restaurant concept was to reinvent the traditional diner while still offering classic dishes that diners have come to expect. They offer delicious seasonal seafood dishes, as well as an enormous selection of breakfast cereal. Those looking for a hot breakfast will not be disappointed either, as Glenn’s Diner offers some seriously tasty breakfast items as well.
6. The Shanty
From outside, this old school mom and pop restaurant might resemble a log cabin, with its wood-clad outer. Once inside, guests are instantly reminded of a simpler time. Since opening up, not much has changed. When your food is that good, there isn’t a need to. Located in Wadsworth, Illinois, diners can expect traditional seafood, steaks and tasty cocktails.
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