THE INNKEEPER RESTAURANT: I-55 and IL 140, just East of Hamel, IL; (618) 633-2500; http://www.innkeeperrestaurant.com
When Quinn, Natalie Kay and I drove up to the International Route 66 Festival in Litchfield, IL the weekend of June 20, we wanted it to be a vacation. For us, vacations are a time to try things you haven’t tried before, so on the way to Litchfield, we decided to stop at the Innkeeper Restaurant in Hamel, IL. It is not right on the Historic Route (it is on the east side of the I-55/SR 140 Viaduct), but everything from its sign, to the front of its menu, to the goodies contained therein, tells you it is a 66 kind of place!
We had always been drawn there by the “Restaurant” sign, which looks like it sported some fine neon in its heyday, and all the cars parked there around lunchtime. When we walked in, we could see it was set up for all kinds of eating, from the lunch counter in the front, to the booths in the back, to the deck outside the place.
The menu offers breakfast anytime and a wide variety of pretty much everything. Quinn and I had sandwiches; mine was a cheeseburger, which came on grilled sourdough, with a nice slathering of cheese. Their sandwiches come with most any topping you’d like. They also have one of the most filling sandwiches known to man, the Monte Cristo, a turkey, ham and cheese concoction dipped in egg and deep fried! They give you a ton of fries to go along with your sandwich, quick service, and friendly service. Their menu also includes some excellent fried chicken and everything from soups and salads to a pretty fine pizza to a New York Strip, all for reasonable prices. They also have plate lunches for $5.95.
And this place is not just good for the food; they also have a pretty decent milkshake, as Quinn and Natalie will tell you.
Almost every town along Illinois Route 66 has its own special place…The Innkeeper may become a place to call your own!
Route 66 Spirit: A