3 of us were on the road the day before Thanksgiving and stopped in at the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield, Illinois for lunch. I had hopes that the visit would be the first part of a trip report but the only other noteworthy stop was a Saturday night pizza on the return visit home and I after the holiday and a lot of driving I just didn't feel up to documenting it.
I'll bet the building doesn't look a whole lot different than it did in 1935.
In 2006 it received some pretty noteworthy recognition. The sign is actually a darker shade of blue but I couldn't get the software to do what I wanted, so this is close enough.
Much to my delight we were put in a back corner booth where a camera flash would be less noticeable. I'm not really into Roadfood memorabilia (yet?) so I didn't ask if I could buy a logo glass but maybe next time I will.
From what I understand the horseshoe sandwich is native to the Springfield area and since Litchfield is less than an hour from there it's no surprise that it has spread. I ordered the turkey version, which comes on toast with cheese sauce and fries. To be honest I was expecting more but it actually turned out to be a good portion for lunch and a good value for the $8.95 price. I know some are wondering...are the turkey and cheese prepared on-site? I don't know and I didn't ask, but I don't see why they couldn't be.
One of the daily specials was a hot beef sandwich and that's what Kathy ordered. Normally I think of this as being on toast but the Ariston serves it on untoasted bread, and she gave it good marks. I swiped a taste of potatoes and gravy and probably would've been just as happy with this sandwich as with the horseshoe.
The 3rd order was cod and I ran into some pretty strong resistance when I pointed the camera at it so there's no visual evidence, but like the 2 sandwiches it tasted fine and there were no leftovers. From what I can remember it was breaded instead of battered and the breading was fairly crisp and crumbly.
This was my 3rd visit and on the previous 2 (a pre-Thanksgiving Tuesday night and a post-Thanksgiving Saturday night) the dining room was fairly full, but this time we arrived before the lunch rush hit so it filled up behind us. Our waitress was very friendly and efficient, even after she picked up a few more tables while we were there.
One final note. I visited the men's room after eating and while it's a bit dated decor-wise it was exceptionally clean, and I feel that deserves mentioning.
If I lived near Litchfield I'd probably stop at the Ariston on a regular basis, and I'll bet there are a lot of people that already do.
<message edited by Brad_Olson on Fri, 12/11/09 5:31 PM>