You Gotta Eat: Wildberries

By WEEK Producer

September 29, 2011 Updated Sep 29, 2011 at 10:08 PM CDT

This week on "You Gotta Eat" we're heading off to a new place in Peoria that's already turning out to be very popular as Mac begins an effort to eat healthy.

Wild Berries is located on Brandywine Drive in Peoria. You'll spot it by the crowded parking lot.

It's the second Wild Berries in Central Illinois. The popular original location is in Normal. And word spread about the new place rapidly.

"We've been very pleased. The first week we were open, I had people saying 'This is my sixth time here", and we'd been open seven days. We're happy people have come and tried us out," said Wildberries employee Christina Preston.

At two in the afternoon the restaurant was still busy. Perhaps because the menu is extensive; everything from full breakfasts and dinners, pizzas and a selection of Greek-inspired specials. And, there's a coffee bar for the caffeine addicted.

Because of that popularity, Christina Preston says reservations might be a good idea.

"It's come to my attention, actually people have told me, that since I got this gig, I've been eating...a lot," said Preston.

So, I skipped the appetizers or the half-pound Angus burger with all the trimmings in favor of a Pecan chicken Dijon Salad. It's a tossed salad laced with grilled chicken, bacon, avocado, tomatoes, Monterrey Jack and cheddar cheese and with sugar pecans added for good measure. I topped mine with avocado ranch dressing.

It's a meal and a good one.

Photographer Doug Smith started with a beef and barley soup, it came with his Sandwich; a grilled ham and cheese on Texas Toast. He ordered his with Pineapple; hoping to recapture the taste of a similar sandwich he had on a dive expedition in the Caribbean.

It wasn't the same. Peoria is not St. Croix. Doug likes the original sandwich. So maybe you should skip adding the pineapple chunks.

Our bill, $18.84 with soft drinks (minus my senior citizen discount) plus tip.

Wild Berries is located at 4115 Brandywine Drive. Catering is also available.

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