Cool blues and excellent food

July 19th, 2013

Printed in The Daily Journal, July 19, 2013

From Bradley to L’Erable to Limestone, there’s some awesome food out there.

Make one of your stops the new Amy’s Broadway Villa and Grill in Bradley. Formerly La Villetta on Broadway, the restaurant’s owner, Amy Serfovic, was once an owner of La Villetta and says guests can expect the same great food and service. Along with the new name comes a new menu, though. Beginning in August, a brunch buffet will be served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month. It will include eggs benedict, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, German fried potatoes, french toast, fresh fruit, roasted chicken, pasta, roast pork, potatoes, vegetable and salad. Cost will be $10.99 per adult.

Amy’s Broadway Villa and Grill not only will serve steaks, seafood and chicken but also will feature German specialties such as schnitzel florentine, hunter schnitzel, wiener schnitzel and chicken schnitzel. There will be Italian dishes, too.

Hours will remain the same — Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., except on brunch buffet days.

Amy’s Broadway Villa and Grill is at 801 W. Broadway St., Bradley. Call 815-939-9440.


Head down to The Longbranch in L’Erable for some excellent food and some cool blues. The dinner special this weekend (Friday and Saturday) will be smoked pecan wood, bacon-wrapped scallops over linguine pasta tossed in a lemon-garlic, olive-oil sauce with red wine onions and asiago cheese.

Or try the 12-ounce, fire-grilled, garlic-and-parmesan-crusted New York strip steak served with a marinated shrimp skewer and caramelized onions with bacon green beans and your choice of a side. This is my husband, Dave’s, favorite steak dish.

For dessert, you must have the housemade peach pie topped with fresh vanilla whipped cream. This is one of the most mouth-watering desserts imaginable.

At 8 p.m. Thursday, July 25, The Longbranch and Friends of the Blues will be present Albert Castiglia and his band in the beer garden. Donna Herula will open the show at 7 p.m.

The beer garden opens with food at 5:30 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-served. Guests who arrive after 6 p.m. are welcome to bring lawn chairs for the concert. Price is $10 per person at the gate. Chef Nick will be preparing his pork chop sandwiches and cheeseburgers with all the fixings ($5 each) until 8 p.m.

The Longbranch is at 2713 N. 1500E Road, Clifton. Phone 815-694-9748.

Reservations are highly recommended. Also, the restaurant does not accept credit or debit cards, so bring cash or a check. There is an ATM in the bar.


Dewey and Fran Noe, owners of Fran’s on 17, said they are offering daily lunch specials, including five new wraps. One of the most popular items on the lunch menu is the prime rib sandwich.

Thursday is Mexican Day at Fran’s. Guests can dine on chicken and beef quesadillas, fish or traditional tacos and, of course, chips and salsa.

Fridays are still reserved for fish specials such as baked scrod, shrimp and walleye, both at lunch and dinner, but the full menu includes rib-eye steak, too.

Prime rib is served Friday and Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. Guests can order the regular cut for $15.95 or the king cut for $19.95. Both include soup or salad and potato.

Barbecue ribs are another specialty at Fran’s, and the restaurant’s pizzas are homemade and fabulous. Fran even has her own special sandwich – a pizza wrap.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

For more information, call 815- 932-6986 or check them out on Facebook.

Fran’s on 17 is at 7096 W. State Route 17, Kankakee (Limestone).


Jim and Mary Roy, of Kankakee, sent in a recommendation for a restaurant in Frankfort, Chef Klaus’ Bier Stube.

Mary said she had “the best fillet in my life. My husband had a blackened prime rib that was to die for. The food was fantastic. I had my first potato pancake, and I have been talking about it ever since. We will definitely go back. It was a wonderful end to our day.”

Mary also said she and Jim enjoyed the pre-meal goodies, which “consisted of several breads, including hot pretzel bread, three different flavored butters, some vegetables, onion and braunschweiger. It was quite nice.”

Mary went on to recommend the beer and wine, too, which she said were both excellent.

Best Bites appears every Friday in The Daily Journal. Tinker Parker can be reached at 815-802-5101, at, or follow her on Facebook at

Strawberries and wine pairings just the start

July 19th, 2013

Printed in The Daily Journal, July 5, 2013

If you haven’t been to Bakers Square restaurant and bakery in a while, go. Enjoy the newly remodeled dining area, complete with a fireplace and new furniture. Several menu items and seasonal pies are also new to Bakers Square. So is manager Russ McDowell. Read the rest of this entry »

Watseka offers more than 20 restaurants

June 28th, 2013

Published in The Daily Journal June 28, 2013

This summer, I’m traveling the back roads, trying out some out-of-the way cafes, diners, restaurants and even a few bars. Read the rest of this entry »

Parker family favorites

June 21st, 2013

Published in The Daily Journal June 21, 2013

At our house, we like to gather in the kitchen around a very long island to eat, talk and laugh. Actually, we call the island “the trough.” No doubt about it, our family enjoys good food, whether it’s in the kitchen or at a restaurant. Read the rest of this entry »

Caribbean Delite, Pizza Pan merge

June 14th, 2013

Published in The Daily Journal June 14, 2013

Several months ago, I reported that Caribbean Delite owner Newton Hood and Pizza Pan owner M. J. Abraham would be merging their businesses. That merger has taken place, and Hood says Caribbean Delite, Bourbonnais, will open for business Friday, June 21. The Court Street location will remain open, and now those same menu items also can be found at the Pizza Pan, in addition to its own full menu. Read the rest of this entry »

PJ’s Ice Cream adds new flavors

June 7th, 2013

Published June 7, 2013 in The Daily Journal

A few weeks ago, I asked readers to tell me about their favorite ice cream shop. Several said PJ’s Ice Cream and Coffee in Manteno was their clear favorite. I stopped by PJ’s for a visit with owners Rick and Paula (PJ) Shelton, and I definitely can say our readers are correct: PJ’s has some dynamite ice cream. Read the rest of this entry »

Clarke City Grille offers unique setting

May 31st, 2013

Published in The Daily Journal, May 31, 2013

A unique little restaurant is open for business in western Kankakee County. Read the rest of this entry »

Best Bites: Reader recommendations for best breakfast in town

May 24th, 2013

Published in The Daily Journal, May 24, 2013

A reader asked me to recommend some great local breakfast spots, so I sent out a request on Facebook asking folks for their favorites. Here’s what they told me: Read the rest of this entry »

A new restaurant, The Grill, gets a rave review

May 21st, 2013

Last week, I took a trip to one of the area’s newest restaurants, The Grill, (formerly America’s Bistro.) Owner Terry Keigher and Chef Jose have put together a menu that is not only delightfully fresh, but scrumptious. Read the rest of this entry »

The kitchen is closed; take Mom to brunch

May 10th, 2013

Published in The Daily Journal May 10, 2013

Sunday is Mother’s Day. Why not treat Mom by taking her out for brunch? Read the rest of this entry »