October 1, 2009

Ernie's Family Restaurant

By Eric Shangraw

Ernie's Family Restaurant

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

It was 25 years ago today a Pekin restaurant first opened its doors.
Eric Shangraw is enjoying breakfast at Ernie's Family Restaurant in this week's You Gotta Eat.

It was October 1, 1984 when Ernest Eugene Melton opened Ernie's.
Ernest died 15 year ago, but his namesake business carries on with a very loyal following of senior citizens. Adolph and Etta Nehmelman make the 20–minute drive from Green Valley daily for their first meal of the day.

"We come for breakfast. And sometimes we come in the evening we come for our evening meal, too," said Etta.

Some folks come for every meal!

"They come two and three times a day. They say it is more feasible to come here and eat than buy groceries and cook. And they say they're too old to do dishes," said manager Althea Melton.

"And Wednesday, they have chicken night. Friday's is catfish night," said Jerry Pemberton.

On Thursday morning, Ernie's always offers creamed chip beef on toast. In the Army they call it S–O–S... or something on a shingle. In this report, "something" is a synonym for something else.

I ordered one of the four–dollar breakfast deals. Two pancakes, two eggs over easy, sausage links and coffee. My side order of toast was extra. The pancakes are humongous, and the sausage links sumptuous. Photographer Dave Janssen had the Ham Skillet with sausage gravy. Dave likes to mix all his breakfast items into one. Our bill; 15–dollars plus tip. There is nothing extravagant in the décor at Ernie's. –Doesn't' matter. Everything that counts is right in the kitchen and on a plate.

Ernie's is open six days a week starting a six each morning; they open the doors at five thirty for anyone waiting out side for coffee. They are closed on Monday's.
613 Derby Street

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