Shop Local, Dine Local

From mom-and-pop shops and farm-to-table restaurants to regional and national chains, central Illinois is full of unique options for shopping and dining local.

Signature food and drink from The Twelve Bar
The Twelve Bar, Peoria Heights’ newest music, wine and cocktail bar, offers a comfortable, intimate space for enjoying live music, small plates and curated craft cocktails. Photos by Jeffery Noble

Why shop local? It's an investment in your community. It's the personal touch. Locally-owned shops and restaurants keep the region vibrant, with offerings you can’t find anywhere else. Small businesses are the backbone of Greater Peoria, with options to please every price and preference. Whatever you’re craving—whether traditional or modern, locally sourced or nationally renowned—you’re sure to find something to love.

CENTERS FOR RETAIL
An eclectic mix of retail centers are home to local businesses as well as national chains, ensuring something special for all tastes. There’s always something new on the horizon—so shop ‘til you drop!

The Shoppes at Grand Prairie is an open-air mall featuring top retailers like H&M, Eddie Bauer, Victoria’s Secret, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Apricot Lane, Home Goods, Banana Republic, Old Navy, J. Crew and Marshalls, as well as dining options like FlatTop Grill, Childer’s Eatery and Osaka Hibachi & Sushi Bar. 

Junction City includes local boutiques like Belle Mie, Pink Sugar and Random; a growing number of health and wellness establishments; Bushwhacker, Peoria’s leading outdoor sports store; and a diverse pack of dining options, including Childer’s Eatery, Cheese Nuts Brick Oven Pizzeria and Hacienda el Mirador.

Metro Centre is a longtime Peoria staple, home to dozens of local, family-owned businesses—from LeBakery, Peoria Camera, Holmes Shoes and Naturally Yours to Unique Gizmos, Pottstown Meats & Deli and Junction Gallery. It’s also home to Peoria’s longest-running farmers’ market—open six days a week from May to October. 

Northwoods Mall is home to national chains like JC Penney, Aeropostale, Bath & Body Works, American Eagle, Hollister, The Buckle, Aerie and Champs Sports, as well as The RoomPlace and Round1 Entertainment. 

Westlake Shopping Center is the award-winning home of Sushigawa, Biaggi’s and ULTA Beauty, among many other shops and eateries. Binny’s Beverage Depot—the Midwest’s largest wine, spirits and beer superstore—recently joined this lineup, while across the street, Portillo’s serves up classic Italian beef and Chicago-style hot dogs.

Roastmaster Tristan Popadziuk at CxT Roasting Company
CxT Roasting Company recently opened its third area location at Keller Station near Junction City. All of their coffee is small-batch roasted in-house by certified roastmaster Tristan Popadziuk.

The Levee District encompasses nearly 100 acres of retail destinations in East Peoria, including Target, Costco, Gordman’s, Carter’s and Lane Bryant, plus restaurants from fine dining to fast casual. Check out Bass Pro Shops, just a half-mile away, for 3½  football fields of shopping excitement—featuring everything an outdoors enthusiast could desire. 

DESTINATION: THE HEIGHTS
The Village of Peoria Heights is a top destination in the heart of Illinois, full of upscale boutiques, specialty shops and fine dining restaurants. Prospect Road is the region’s leading culinary corridor—our own “Restaurant Row”—offering outdoor dining, live entertainment and more, the perfect mix for a night out on the town.

Hearth serves up high-end comfort food and a robust wine and whiskey menu, while Edge by Chef Dustin Allen offers an ever-changing menu of farm-fresh, locally-sourced ingredients—and its wine selections earned it the prestigious Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2019. A couple floors up, The Twelve Bar brings together local musicians, tasty tapas and craft cocktails in an artful setting of casual elegance.

This two-block stretch of the Heights also encompasses Cayenne’s unique twists on tacos; juicy steaks at Jim’s Bistro; classic fare at Joe’s Original Italian & Martini Bar and Sullivan’s Irish Pub; and elevated American eats and drinks at The Publik House. Nearby at Heritage Square, Slow Hand BBQ, Pour Brothers Taproom and Brienzo’s Wood Fired Pizza offer more casual options, and the plaza itself is a growing hub of live music and community events. Paparazzi is a hidden gem just around the corner, dishing out traditional Italian fare for over 35 years, while Trefzger’s Bakery has offered made-from-scratch treats since 1861!

Take a leisurely stroll along Prospect Road and discover a unique mix of shops and experiences, from the latest fashion trends at A Perfect Pear, Bello Couture and Wishing Star Boutique, to one-of-a-kind options at Carlson’s Custom Jewelry, to distinctive gifts at So Chic Boutique, Lost & Found and The Nook. 

Make a day out of it! Support local artists at Exhibit A Gallery; create your own pottery at Fired Up; scour the shelves at I Know You Like A Book; visit Olio & Vino for high-end olive oils, vinegars and gourmet foods; and grab a latte at Leaves-N-Beans while you’re window-shopping. Coming soon to the Heights: specialty coffee drinks and craft cocktails at Zion Social! 

UNIQUE & ECLECTIC FINDS
Peoria’s West Main neighborhood is an urban hub of arts, culture and small business—anchored by Studios on Sheridan at the Sunbeam Building, featuring escape rooms, artist studios and shops full of unique gifts and local goods. Stop by on a First Friday to visit the artists and purchase original artwork!

Check out Urban Artifacts for mid-20th century antiques, Moon Dancer for funky clothing and accessories, Restoration for “shabby chic,” and Lit. On Fire for gently used books. The Costume Trunk has been a favorite for years, while Ribbon Records curates a fantastic selection of vintage clothing and records. 

Down the road, Campustown Shopping Center offers a range of shops and eateries, while One World Café and Primitiques hold down the corner at Main and University. In downtown Peoria, RC Outfitters is one of the nation’s largest specialty running stores, and Rambler, an outdoors-inspired men’s specialty shop, has brought retail to the revitalized Warehouse District—with much more on the way!

In the heart of Peoria, you’ll find one-of-a-kind gifts at Relics, contemporary western brands at Branded Country Wear, and fine jewelry at Bremer and Potter & Anderson. Specialty shops like Lulu’s on Main, Thr3ads and So Chic Boutique exemplify hometown charm in Morton, while Washington is another great stop—with storefronts surrounding its historic downtown square and Russell’s Cycling & Fitness Center, one of the top bike shops in the country. 

Looking for a deal? Thrifters and pickers can start their journey at Moxie’s ReSale or Anne’s Anteex, discover unique items from more than 70 vendors at Two Sisters and a Warehouse, then head to Tomorrow’s Treasures or Feels Like Home Consignment Shop in north Peoria. Or spend the day in East Peoria, where treasures abound at The Picker’s Daughter, Vintique and Pleasant Hill Antique Mall.

Jim’s Bistro steaks
A 50-year family tradition of fine, dry-aged steaks cut in-house and prepared to order lives on at Jim’s Bistro.

HIGH-END ELEGANCE
Needing some sophistication for date night? Peoria offers a magnificent array of fine dining options. In 2018, Troy Ummel’s Connected was named a Distinguished Restaurant of North America—one of the industry’s top honors and the first Peoria establishment to achieve the coveted designation. Other fantastic selections include 2 Chez, Jim’s Steakhouse, Two25 and The Fish House in Peoria, and Jonah’s Seafood and Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse in East Peoria.

In Morton, enjoy premium drinks and small plates at Unum, while Kemp 208 offers casual fine dining with rustic American fare. And don’t forget “Restaurant Row” in Peoria Heights—where Hearth and Edge lead a pack of high-end eateries.

QUICK BITES & CASUAL EATS
Casual dining is abundant throughout Greater Peoria—from One World, Avanti’s, Dac's Smokehouse and The Fieldhouse near Bradley University; to Obed & Isaac’s, Kenny’s Westside Pub, Rhythm Kitchen, Mack’s and The Blue Duck downtown; to Rizzi’s and the New Orleans-inspired PO Boys further north—not to mention all your favorite national chains. Cyd’s is can’t-miss for made-to-order sandwiches, burgers, soups and salads—and distinctive outdoor dining in beautiful Donovan Park.

From deep dish to thin crust, an abundance of local pizzerias ensure you’ll get your favorite slice, including Knuckle’s Pizza in Dunlap; Oliver’s, Brienzo’s and Pizza Works in the Heights; and Sugar, Cheese Nuts, Double A’s and Agatucci’s in Peoria—just to name a few!

Family-owned establishments like Sky Harbor and Lariat Steakhouse are longstanding hometown favorites; Donnelly’s and Kouri’s offer outdoor patios and pub fare; and the Peoria Hofbrau offers the finest German-American cuisine and drinks. Seasons Gastropub in Morton features craft beers and a seasonal menu, while Forge Steakhouse just opened its doors in a former blacksmith shop. In Washington, stop by McMahon’s Pints and Plates, The Blacksmith or Alpha Bravo to satiate your hunger.

INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS
Greater Peoria offers plenty of international flavors as well. Nestled together on West Main Street, Thanh Linh, Thai Tyme and Pho on Main II serve up delicious takes on Asian food—or grab some sushi in the heart of Peoria at Sushi KO or Sushigawa. There is no shortage of authentic Mexican food, from cozy neighborhood spots like Mi Familia, El Habanero and El Mexicano to Jalepeno’s, El Taco Loco and El Gordo Mexican Bakery—known for delicious sweet breads, donuts, rolls, muffins and pastries made from scratch daily. 

Indian Tadka and Desi Exotic Nation on Peoria’s north end offers sumptuous Indian cuisine, while Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare can be found at Jerusalem, Jenin Village, Haddad’s, Kabab-G and Olympia Sports Bar & Grill. For imported produce and other international options, check out Asian Market on University Street or Mediterranean Mart on Glen Avenue.

PINTS & POUR-OVERS
From the latest IPA to a fresh pour-over, specialty brews can be found at a growing range of establishments. Rhodell’s, Obed & Isaac’s and Bearded Owl offer seasonal microbrews in downtown Peoria, and you’ll find plenty of craft beers and delicious food at Thyme and Kelleher’s Irish Pub. Friendly hangouts on Farmington Road include Jimmy’s, Crusens and Shelton’s, while Castle’s Patio Inn is a neighborhood mainstay in central Peoria. Coming soon: craft spirits at Black Band Distillery, opening this spring in Peoria’s Warehouse District!

Across the river in East Peoria, pair your pint with a bite at Logan’s Roadhouse or check out Maquet’s Rail House in Pekin for craft beers and locally-sourced burgers. And there are plenty of spots to get your caffeine fix, including Zion Coffee Bar, thirty-thirty Coffee Co., CxT Roasting Company, Caffè Bogota, The Spot, The Blend in Washington, and Eli’s Coffee, with three locations in Morton, Tremont and Metamora.

SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH
Are you ready to top off your meal? There is no shortage of places in the area for dessert, candy and other confections. Check out Trefzger’s in Peoria Heights or get homemade ice cream at Las Delicias, The Spotted Cow or Emack & Bolio’s. A road trip to Eureka is well worth it for Uncle Bob's Homemade Ice Cream and Maurie’s Candy Store, while Sucré Sweets and Socials in Morton offers candy, shakes and a massive event space. PP

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