17th Street Barbecue
Rated as “Best Ribs in the U.S.” but Bon Appétit Magazine, 17th Street Barbecue is a champion among barbecue. For a taste of legendary proportions, visit their original location in Murphysboro or their newest restaurant in Marion.
32 N 17th St., Murphysboro and 2700 17th St, Marion
The quintessential American diner with blue plate specials, Mary Lou’s first opened its doors in 1962 with only 13 stools at the counter. Over the years, Mary Lou’s has become a staple of Carbondale and is a first stop for many who return to Carbondale for a visit. The only place in town where you can get a side of biscuits and gravy with nearly everything.
118 S Illinois Ave # 5., Carbondale
Giant City Lodge
Built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, Giant City Lodge holds a lot of history but the food is what draws people in. Family-style fried chicken and all the fixings on Sundays is what the Lodge is known for.
460 Giant City Lodge Road, Makanda
Reid’s Harvest House Smorgasbord
When you walk into Reid’s, you’re greeted with a 35-foot long buffet of traditional home cooked food. Have a little of everything or a lot of your favorite, but don’t forget dessert!
2440 State St., Chester
American Fine Dining
A tradition along the original Illinois Central Railroad, the Centralia House has a history well over 100 years old. The current location boasts its original bar and is nearly exact as it was a century ago. The stellar menu includes steak and seafood as well as traditional Creole dishes.
111 N Oak St., Centralia
Located in a home built in 1896, Mary’s is known for serving the finest fresh meat available. Everything is made from scratch on a daily basis. Indulge in delicacies like New Zealand mussels, escargot, and the popular “Mary’s Oysters”. Mary’s offers a unique dining experience in a home steeped with local history.
509 S Park Ave., Herrin
Known for their extensive wine list, Tom’s Place offers a delectable menu that includes a variety of steak and seafood. With 25 specials daily, along with their classic menu, you are sure to find something perfect for any occasion.
17107 N Us Highway 51., De Soto
Hunan Fine Asian Cuisine
Chan San opened Hunan in 1987 after moving to Southern Illinois from Southeast Asia. The menu includes a wide variety of upscale Asian entrees from various regions of China. Don’t forget to order Warm Strawberry Delights for dessert!
710 E Main St., Carbondale
Roemer Topf Restaurant
The traditional German restaurant specializes in Bavarian cooking. All of the dishes are prepared from scratch following family and traditional regional recipes. Guten Appetit!
1415 McKinley St., Mascoutah
Alongi’s Italian Restaurant
Alongi’s has been family owned and operated since opening in 1933 by Italian immigrant Guy Alongi. Traditional and family recipes grace the menu including Nana’s Meatballs with Spaghetti. You can see Alongi’s rich history in old photos that canvas the walls of the restaurant.
18 W Main St., Du Quoin
Bennie’s Italian Foods
One of Marion’s oldest restaurants, Bennie’s began as a mobile tamale business in the 1920s. Today, the menu offers traditional Italian dishes — and the original tamale.
309 N. Market, Marion
Italian Village (I.V.’s)
I.V.’s has been a local favorite for more than 50 years. Specializing in pizza and pasta, the restaurant boasts a unique atmosphere of autographs and memories along the walls from any and all who visit the restaurant. Consistency is what keeps throngs of fans coming back over and over and over.
405 S Washington St., Carbondale
-- NIKI DAVIS