November 13, 2008

Sterling Family Restaurant

By Eric Shangraw

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

At least one Peoria diner is open every day of the year, except Christmas.

Eric Shangraw tries out breakfast at the Sterling Family Restaurant in this week's You Gotta Eat.

The Sterling Family Restaurant has been a culinary Peoria landmark for twenty years.
But the first Tuesday of 2006 is the one–day owner Louie Trilikis (tree–like–es) is asked about almost every day by customers.

"This is the President and me and my staff that morning," Trilikis says pointing to a large framed photo near the front door.

George W. Bush stopped by for more than an hour to have toast and talk to customers.
On a weekly basis after church you'll find another well–known mug sitting in a booth.

"Oh my God! Gina Morss. She's my girl. She comes in every Sunday with her family," Trilikis howls after I tell him we are co-workers at News 25.

But it's not the distinguished customers making this a Peoria classic.
Driving Louie's success is a simple philosophy.

"Be here everyday. Work hard. Pay attention. Take care of your customers. Serve good food. Quality food. And you're there," he says.

"I was born and raised in Chicago. And in Chicago as a young man on every street corner was a full service restaurant of some nature. This is familiar," says customer Tom Magnusson.

By full service Magnusson means a wide–ranging menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner selections served any time of the day.
In the middle of the afternoon I ordered Gina's favorite: The Sterling Special: scrambled eggs and bacon with pancakes. I amended her regular with a side of hash browns. I liked Gina's recommendation.
Photographer Warren had the zesty pulled–pork on a toasted bun and French fries.
I think he envied my Gina breakfast selection.
Our bill with drinks; $17.00 plus tip.
Anyone who longs for the classic American diner experience needs to sit in a booth or at the counter of the Sterling.

Sterling Family Restaurant is open seven days a week from six in the morning until nine at night.
Louie is serving a traditional meal on Thanksgiving Day.
You can watch this and past You Gotta Eat stories at

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