You Gotta Eat: P.L. Johnson's

By WEEK Reporter

November 17, 2011 Updated Nov 18, 2011 at 10:58 AM CDT

BISHOP HILL, Ill -- Tonight on You Gotta Eat, a visit to a State Historic Site for some ethnic fare.

We're going sixty miles Northwest of Peoria...for meatballs.

P. L. Johnson's is in Bishop Hill, Illinois. The little community in Henry County was founded as a Swedish Utopian community in 1846.

Although the community as such only lasted fifteen years, Bishop Hill residents still celebrates their Swedish roots. Which is why we were at P.L. Johnson's, for one of the specialties of the house.

Ann Stodgel of P.L. Johnson's says "our specialty is the Swedish meatballs. We serve them over noodles, and comes with out home made bread and a salad, or a bowl of soup."

P.L. Johnson was the builder of this a hardware store. Some local folks will also tell you it was also the first place in town with a TV set.

P.L. is gone, but his bicycle still hangs over the door to the restaurant. The rest of the building is a gift shop, with some Christmas items already on display.

Bishop Hill always gets visitors, but November and December are special.

"Our Christmas market is open the weekend after Thanksgiving, and that's on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and then we have our Luchia nights, which is the only weekend when the town is open at night, and that will be December 9th and 10th this year."

My Swedish meatballs --served over noodles--were just the thing on a cool day. I hate to say it, but better than mom made. It came with bread and a side salad, all of it good.

Photographer Larry Foulk had the "big brick', a turkey, roast beef, ham and provolone cheese sandwich. He had a cup of chicken noodle soup, as well. He liked it all, and topped it off with a large chocolate brownie.

Our bill came to $23.11 plus tip.

For a town of 150 people, Bishop Hill has a lot to offer. Be aware, some shops are open Wednesday through Sunday.

Visit for details.

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