February 21, 2008

You Gotta Eat: McAlister's

By WEEK Producer

July 13, 2010 Updated Jul 13, 2010 at 2:30 PM CDT

A restaurant with roots in New Orleans has made its' way to Peoria.

Eric Shangraw goes for lunch at McAlister's Deli in this week's You Gotta Eat.

McAlister's Deli is on University in Peoria. The "McName" and exterior made me think we were heading into a Irish pub. But the hospitality and menu here has southern roots.... Hot made to order stuff the owner calls "fast–casual."

According to owner Jeff Eberly, "We are a southern style deli. We have good service and great food. We're known for our sweet tea.".

The potato meals are big sellers. They take two baked potatoes, put them together, fluff up the middle, add your choice of toppings and send it back to the steamer for a moment to melt. Call it "spudlicious."

I would compare it to Panera Bread. But they have a wider variety here, said customer Emily Crow.

I'm not to enthusiastic about the open ceiling. That leads to a noise problem, said customer Gry Kleber.

The food is good. It came quickly. And the kids are enjoying the cookies, said customer Deb Boisen.

Photographer Doug Smith had the McAlister Club: Turkey, ham, bacon, cheddar and Swiss cheese on toasted wheat bread. He liked the sandwich but absolutely loved the mashed potatoes drowning in brown gravy. I had the Memphian and a cup of potato soup. –The soup chalked full of fresh cheese, bacon bits and onion. My sandwich was the Memphian. A trade marked concoction with a whole lot of meat and cheese on a toasted wheat hoagie. I'm not sure what makes it Southern... but it was dandy. Our bill with sweet iced tea: $19.54. No need to tip. You order at the counter. McAlister's menu will do just fine in the Midwest.

McAlister's Deli took over the location on University vacated by Fazoli's. They are open seven days a week... and also have a location in the Bone Student Center on ISU's campus.

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