Well the next time you're in Kickapoo...here's the place to be!

On a recent trip back home to the great state of Iowa, I was dying for something non-chain. I just hate going to chain restaurants when I'm on a road trip. I want to get some local flavor.

As we were driving I saw a sign for "from-scratch cooking" and I was sold. So just off I-74 at Exit 82 we stopped at the Jubilee Cafe!

You can't see the sign for Chicken Dinner - that was the special of the day...

This was our first attempt at capturing the waitresses hair on the camera...didn't work so well...damn sun.

It's your typical diner...counter with seats, lots of booths and tables. It was EXTREMELY busy for a weekday lunch. Nearly every table was filled when we walked in!

Lar ordered the Reuben and onion rings. Look at the corned beef! This was huge thick slices of corned beef and delicious sauerkraut and cheese on thick texas toast. Really a great Reuben. The onion rings were pretty tasty as well.

I had to get the special. Two pieces of chicken, twice baked potato casserole, some odd bean casserole concoction and a roll - for less than $6! The chicken - juicy, crispy - delicious! The twice baked potato casserole - very very yummy - comfort food at its best. Cheesy & creamy!

The surprise of the meal was most definitely the bean concoction. It was lima beans, kidney beans and refried beans maybe? Really I have no idea - but it was beans beans and more beans. But the surprising thing was the sweetness - like homemade baked beans... It was really great. I was totally scared to try it but then practically licked the bowl!

Here's a shot of the counter - makes me think of Mel's Diner from Alice! And I totally expected to hear "Kiss My Grits!" from someone...

I was stuffed but Larry loves pie...and they had a giant case of it. Every kind you can think of!

There's attempt #2 at the wall of hair!

More pie...pecan...I love it so. I split the chocolate pie with Larry instead...trying to be the good and not get a whole piece for myself.

Totally should have bought that damn shirt.

And as we left - I spotted this. Always nice to see a Forrest Gump reference on a road trip.

Honestly - you'll probably never go - unless you're also driving to Cedar Rapids, IA. Diners like this are why I like to eat out. It's local, it's homey, it's a slice of Americana.

But if you ever do find yourself on I-74 in the middle of nowhere Illinois (just southwest of Peoria) - then make a stop at Exit 82 to the Jubilee Cafe and at least have some pie...you'll be glad you did!

Jubilee Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. Jubilee Cafe is def homestyle cooking to the max. I live here in Peoria IL and rarely make it out to Kickapoo, but if I do I always try and stop. They opened a Jubilee Cafe in the heart of the city but it didn't do well. Needless to say, it does well out there. That location has been open as long as I've been on this earth, and the food hasn't changed one bit. Highly recommended.

  2. We went here when we were staying at the Wildlife Prairie State Park on a recommendation of one of the workers in the gift shop. We were so glad we did! Best down-home cooking restaurant I've ever been to! That has been several years ago and we still talk about it. We're planning a trip back to the Wildlife Park this year and I'm so glad to see that this restaurant is still there ... we will definitely be going back!!! My mom and dad are both originally from the Peoria area and this food was as good as the wonderful dishes my aunts and cousins used to make to bring to the big family reunions!! And the fried chicken was perfect, not greasy, not too crispy, the meat was juicy .. mmm mmm, just like my mother-in-law makes!!

  3. We live about an hour and a half away, but if we go by the Jubilee Cafe--we stop!! They have great pie and we have yet to find a kind that wasn't good! It's worth the trip and the stop. Seeing the "Orb-ed Haired Woman" is a trip, too.

  4. Absolutely, I drive two hours out of my way when ever I'm headed east on 80 past the Mississippi. Come to think of it, we drive two hours again on the way back. The pie is incredible, although I missed the legendary Fudge Pie - ah such is my fate...miss the Fudge Pie and discover the hot pork sandwich, hot turkey sandwich, hot...whatever...this is so good.

  5. They have the best fried chicken that I have ever eaten! I'm from the south and have eaten a LOT of fried chicken!

  6. I am lucky enough to live close to the Jubilee Cafe. It has awesome home-cooked diner food. The applesauce is to die for!

  7. We went there and I ordered liver and onions. What a joke. It was almost paper thin and only one small piece. We will never be back. Even my hubby's easy hamburger was a joke. We could have gotten a better meal at McDonold's and we don't like fast food.