Small businesses are the backbone of our community. Locally-owned shops and restaurants keep the region vibrant, with offerings you can’t find anywhere else and options to please every price point and palate. Whatever you’re craving—whether traditional or avant-garde, locally sourced or nationally renowned, there’s always something new on the horizon—you’re sure to find something to love.
Around the region, an eclectic mix of retail centers are home to unique, local businesses as well as national chains, ensuring something special for all tastes and preferences… so shop ‘til you drop!
- The Shoppes at Grand Prairie is an open-air mall in north Peoria featuring top retailers like H&M, 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 and Osaka Hibachi & Sushi Bar. Coming soon: Childers Eatery—a third location for this Peoria favorite!
- Northwoods Mall is home to national chains like JC Penney, Sears, Bath & Body Works, American Eagle, Hollister, The Buckle, Aerie and Champs Sports, as well as The RoomPlace and Round1 Entertainment. Coming soon: Forever 21, the fifth-largest specialty retailer in the country.
- Junction City is a powerhouse of local clothing boutiques like Belle Mie, Pink Sugar and Random; a growing hub of health and wellness establishments; and home to Bushwhacker, Peoria’s leading outdoor sports store. Childers, Cheese Nuts Brick Oven Pizzeria, Hacienda el Mirador and the high-end elegance of Harvest Supper Club & Vintage Lounge highlight a rich catalog of options.
- Metro Centre is a longtime Peoria staple, home to dozens of local and 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.
- 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 galore, from fine dining to fast casual. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Guilty Pleasures Cupcake Bakery, or check out Bass Pro Shops, just a half-mile away, for everything an outdoors enthusiast could desire.
- 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, will soon join this lineup, while just across the street, Portillo’s serves up classic Italian beef and Chicago-style hot dogs.
PROSPECTING THE HEIGHTS
Over the last decade, Peoria Heights has become a top destination in the heart of Illinois, full of upscale boutiques, specialty shops and some of the area’s finest food. Prospect Road is Greater Peoria’s leading culinary corridor—our very own “Restaurant Row”—while new streetscape seating has expanded the possibilities of “al fresco” dining… perfect for a midsummer’s night out on the town.
From Cayenne’s unique twists on tacos to Hearth’s premium comfort food, this small stretch of the Heights showcases a wealth of eclectic options. Edge by Chef Dustin Allen offers an ever-changing menu of farm-fresh, locally-grown ingredients—and recently took home the 2019 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. A couple floors up, The Twelve Bar brings local musicians, tasty tapas and craft cocktails together in an artful setting of casual elegance.
Head to Jim’s Bistro for juicy steaks; grab classic fare at Joe's Original Italian & Martini Bar or Sullivan’s Irish Pub; or stop by The Publik House for burgers or Sunday brunch. Nearby at Heritage Square, Slow Hand Barbecue, Pour Brothers Taproom and Brienzo’s Wood Fired Pizza offer more casual options, while the plaza itself is a growing hub of live music and community events.
Around the corner, Paparazzi is a hidden gem, dishing out traditional Italian fare for 35 years, while Trefzger’s Bakery has offered made-from-scratch sweet treats since 1861! Elsewhere in the Heights, Peoria Pizza Works and Oliver’s Pizza & Pub pair live music with pizza and drinks: a classic combination.
Take a leisurely stroll along Prospect and discover a unique mix of shops and experiences, from the latest fashion trends at A Perfect Pear 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.
There’s no shortage of ideas: check out local artwork at Exhibit A Gallery; create custom pottery at Fired Up!; blend your own fragrances at Purple Bubble Bar; scour the shelves at I Know You’ll Like A Book; visit Olio & Vino for high-end olive oils, balsamic 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!
Peoria’s West Main neighborhood is a growing hub of arts and culture—anchored by Studios on Sheridan at the Sunbeam Building, featuring escape rooms, artist studios and shops full of unique gifts and local goods. 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. Stop by on a First Friday to visit the artists in their studios and purchase original artwork!
Also on West Main, the Costume Trunk is a longtime Peoria favorite, while Ribbon Records curates a fantastic selection of vintage clothing and records. Just 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. Down the hill in downtown Peoria, RC Outfitters is one of the nation’s largest specialty running stores, while Rambler, an outdoors-inspired men’s specialty shop, has brought retail to the revitalized Warehouse District.
In the heart of Peoria, you’ll find one-of-a-kind gifts at Relics and contemporary western brands at Branded Country Wear. Start your thrifting journey at Moxie’s ReSale for used and vintage treasures; move on to Anne’s Anteex near Sheridan Village for an assortment of antiques and collectibles; then head down Lake Street and discover Two Sisters and a Warehouse, with antiques, refurbished furniture and decor from more than 70 vendors.
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. Venture out to Kickapoo for repurposed furniture, antiques and a renowned selection of holiday ornaments at Kightlinger Antiques, or pay a visit to Kountry Nook Gift & Craft Mall in Pekin.
QUICK BITES & CASUAL EATS
Casual dining is abundant throughout Greater Peoria—from One World, Avanti’s and The Fieldhouse near Bradley University; to Obed & Isaac’s, Kenny’s Westside Pub, Rhythm Kitchen and The Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern 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 Pizzeria and Agatucci’s in Peoria, just to name a few!
Family-owned restaurants like Sky Harbor and Lariat Steakhouse are longtime community 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 a seasonal menu and craft beers; and in Washington, stop by McMahon’s Pints and Plates, The Blacksmith or Alpha Bravo for a quick bite to eat.
In need of some sophistication for date night? Peoria offers an array of fine dining options as well. 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.
The Peoria area 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 neighborhood spots like Mi Familia, El Habanero and El Mexicano to Jalepeno’s and the new El Gordo Mexican Bakery—known for its delicious Mexican sweet breads, donuts, rolls, muffins and pastries made from scratch daily.
Indian Tadka 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 are available at a growing range of establishments. In downtown Peoria, Rhodell’s, Obed & Isaac’s and Bearded Owl Brewing offer seasonal microbrews, and you’ll find plenty of craft beers at Thyme, Tannins & Hops, and Kelleher’s. Friendly hangouts on Farmington Road include Jimmy’s, Crusens and Shelton’s, while Castle’s Patio Inn is a neighborhood mainstay in the heart of the city.
Across the river in East Peoria, pair your pint with a bite at Granite City, 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.
Ready to top off your meal? There is no shortage of places to satisfy your sweet tooth. Check out Trefzger’s Bakery in Peoria Heights or get homemade ice cream at Las Delicias, The Spotted Cow or Emack & Bolio’s. Take a road trip to Uncle Bob's Homemade Ice Cream in Eureka, Sucré Sweets and Socials in Morton, or Maurie’s of Pekin for fine candies, caramel apples, ice cream and much more! PP