Destination: Downtown Peoria

As we work to reawaken the regional business climate, we expect to see many people coming back to the downtown.

by Michael Freilinger, Downtown Development Corporation of Peoria
100 block of Adams Street, early 1950s.
100 block of Adams Street, early 1950s. Courtesy of Peoria Public Library Local History Collection

The Downtown Development Corporation is partnering with the Heart of Illinois Hospitality Association and Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau on an extensive marketing campaign aimed at reopening Peoria-area restaurants in a safe and effective manner. Look for our ad in this issue of Peoria Magazine and other local publications, on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and on local TV and radio channels that highlight the exciting offerings in downtown Peoria and beyond. 

Looking Back
Downtown dining has certainly changed over the years. Department stores like Block & Kuhl (later Carson Pirie Scott & Company) and Bergner’s once boasted “home-cooked” meals with daily specials in their diners. Bishop’s Buffet on Washington Street was the prime dinner spot—especially on weekends—with lines winding up and down the brass rails in the lobby. The five-and-dime stores, like Grant’s and Woolworth’s, had the best soda fountains in town! And it was always a special treat to dine at the Hotel Pere Marquette, mostly for special occasions. While it’s fun to look back at the past, our dining options today are much more diverse, offering specialty international selections and putting a modern twist on down-home comfort food and beverages. 

Moving Forward
As we work to reawaken the regional business climate, we expect to see many people coming back downtown to enjoy our many dining options—and support the small businesses behind them. Whether you are comfortable with dining in or dining out, carryout or delivery, check out our local restaurants for unique dining experiences. These establishments are especially in need of our support during these challenging times. They are following all safety guidelines and protocols to earn your trust, and they welcome you back with open arms and open doors.

Plenty of other activities await you downtown, from coffee shops, brewpubs and farmers’ markets to arts and cultural experiences like Sculpture Walk Peoria, the Peoria Riverfront Museum and the Peoria Art Guild. Set out on an adventure of rock climbing, escape rooms, axe throwing, crafting, art and museum touring, or throw your own party at one of several venues downtown. Remember, every dollar you spend helps local businesses keep their doors open for your convenience and enjoyment. Our local establishments are counting on you, their faithful patrons, to come out and play in Peoria! PM
 
Check out visitdowntownpeoria.com for a complete listing of restaurants, shopping, nightlife, attractions and special events.

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