May 20, 2010

Dolphin Cove

By Eric Shangraw

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

The warm forecast for the weekend weather could be a boom for restaurants on the water.

You can sit inside or out at Dolphin Cove.

Eric Shangraw is having lunch there in this week's You Gotta Eat.

Dolphin Cove is part of the Rainbow Cove Marina on the Illinois River in East Peoria.

Inside the simple metal building is a fun beach bar and restaurant. Colorful custom kites, old push-pedal cars, a sail board, toy ships, Tonka trucks, and umbrella with lights are suspended from the ceiling along with a fortuitous 18-foot fiberglass shark. There's an outdoor feeding area as well featuring dolphin décor in a boat, dolphins standing by the bar, dolphins patrolling the perimeter. Although there was no one to guard on this cloudy rain afternoon.

"Usually on summer days we are a lot busier. A lot of boats come in. They'll dock outside and come in and eat. And hang out for a bit and take off when they please," said Kitchen Manager Jayson Olsen with his Australian accent.

We found a group of ladies from Washington Christian Village here on a road trip for lunch.

"Delicious. I had the fish. It is to much. Going to take some home," said customer Geneva Wytcherley.

They even may come back one day when it's not raining so they can feast outside.

"Perhaps if the wind isn't strong. Old ladies (like us) don't like wind," said senior customer Daveyne Pugh.

Photographer Doug Smith and I started with Cove Chips. Nacho chips piled high and flooded with cheese, warm chunks of ham, bacon bits and drizzled with Ranch Dressing. Served on a tray. It is enough for a meal. But this was a warm up lap in the lunch trough.

Next Doug dove into the Hideaway. A cold sandwich stacked with ham, pepperoni, salami, cheddar and provolone cheese, lettuce, pickle and mustard. Dagwood would be satisfied.

I had the Dolphin Dip. It is hot Italian beef with pepper jack and provolone cheese with red onions, pickle slices and au jus. The onion does a nice job bringing out the taste of the beef.

We went crazy for the french fries. Long and skinny. They're Steak 'N Shake knockoffs. Dynamite.

With drinks our bill $20.32 plus tip.

We're going to follow the seniors and boaters, come back when its nice out, and not to windy.

Dolphin Cove is on Sunset Drive in East Peoria just off Route 26 and Collins. The kitchen is open daily from 11am until 10pm.

Dolphin Cove
1111 Sunset Drive
East Peoria


Kitchen Hours
Open Daily 11am until 10pm

Bar Hours:
Mon-Thu 11am-12am
Fri-Sat 11am-1am
Sunday 11am-12am

Cash and Checks Only
ATM available

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