Formed by the confluence of the Kankakee and Des Plaines rivers outside of Joliet and flowing southwest to the Mississippi, the Illinois River is perhaps Greater Peoria’s ultimate asset. It offers a multitude of ways to play, from fishing to sailing and beyond, and with its picturesque, shore-side views, it’s an ideal setting for an afternoon drink or evening meal. This summer, take advantage of our winding waterway and grab a bite at one of these waterfront establishments… where burgers, beer and Americana reign.
Kuchie's on the Water, Creve Coeur
Simple, fun and inexpensive, Kuchie’s on the Water boasts one of the prettiest views of the Illinois River and some of the region’s best corn fritters. Its large, wrap-around deck is ideal for dining in warm weather while taking in views of the river, passing barges and migrating birds in flight. The restaurant occupies the old Captain Ron’s location, and some of the former joint’s tiki kitsch—grass skirts and tropical décor—remains, contributing to the carefree, Key West vibe.
$, Waterfront, Seafood, Sandwiches/Subs/Burgers, Kid-Friendly, Outdoor Seating, Boat Slip
Insider tip: Try the all-you-can-eat walleye dinner on Friday nights for $9.95.
Granite City, East Peoria
Brewing its own beer in-house, Granite City offers outdoor seating along the east side of the river near the Bob Michel Bridge. With 30 locations across the U.S., the restaurant has won national awards for Best Restaurant, Best Brunch, Best Patio, Best Beer, Best Martini and Best Burger, and is passionate about creating fresh menu items from scratch daily. The East Peoria location offers sweeping views of the Illinois River from its outdoor deck where you can enjoy a signature brew with a warm river breeze.
$$, Waterfront, Sandwiches/Wraps/Burgers, Pizza, Entrees, Kid-Friendly, Outdoor Seating, Brunch
Insider tip: On Mondays from 3 to 6pm, Mug Club memberships—Granite City’s food and tap beer savings program—are just five bucks.
Jonah's Seafood, East Peoria
Locally owned since 1986, Jonah’s knows seafood. With fish flown in daily to showcase the flavors of Tampa, San Francisco, Boston and New Orleans, its daily menus change regularly according to what’s freshest. Located on the east side of the river, Jonah’s offers spectacular views of the Peoria skyline from its indoor dining deck. The restaurant features a full wine and cocktail menu, and don’t forget the 2601 Oyster Bar next door, with its own menu highlighted by fresh-shucked oysters on the half-shell, tonged from USDA-approved waters.
$$$, Waterfront, Seafood, Sandwiches/Wraps/Burgers, Entrees, Boat Slip
Insider tip: Start with an oyster sampler to taste the differences between the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf varieties.
Mr. Mikes’ Place, Lacon
Open seasonally from May through November, Mr. Mike’s Place is a well-kept secret just off the river in Lacon. A mom-and-pop shop serving up Vienna beef dogs—Chicago style and otherwise—Mr. Mike’s also offers some of the best gyros and Italian beef in the region. Try the Eli’s-brand cheesecake, tiramisu, or a generous milkshake to wash it all down.
$, Waterfront, Sandwiches/Hot Dogs, Pizza, Kid-Friendly, Boat Slip
Insider tip: Check out the Sunday game specials on pizza and wings.
Burger Barge, East Peoria
An East Peoria staple, the Burger Barge serves up some of the area’s finest burgers from its beachy location along the river. Now with two locations, the original “barge” is nestled on a small inlet of the river, where it pleases in its simple mantra to serve up comfort. From fried appetizers to “anchor pies”—piles of fries topped with goodies—the menu is varied, but most come for the burger… or one of its thirty-some takes on the American classic. The facility also features a year-round outdoor beer garden and sand beach with great sunset views of the Peoria skyline.
$, Waterfront, Sandwiches/ Burgers, Kid-Friendly, Outdoor Seating, Boat Slip
Insider tip: Head to the Barge on Wednesdays for $1 margaritas. a&s