January 20, 2011

J&G Cafe

By Eric Shangraw

January 20, 2011 Updated Jan 20, 2011 at 9:06 PM CDT

An Elmwood restaurant is thriving again after being shut down by last years tornado.

Eric Shangraw is having homemade meat loaf and pie at the J&G Country Café in this week's You Gotta Eat.

The J&G was closed for four months after a twister ripped through downtown Elmwood last June. It re-opened in October with the same style home cooked food and friendly service.

"Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of options in Elmwood. We have a few but this is good home cooking," said customer Sarah Inskeep.

"It is really cute. Everything in here is just really cute. I just love it," said customer Erika Goldstein.

Josh Pumphrey and his mom Gwen run the place. They are the "J" and the "G." He says it's a simple formula for success.

"Family. Hard work. Great food. Everything homemade. Cheap prices," said Josh.

Photographer Doug Smith order the Barbecue Rib sandwich and French fries. It was a pre-shaped processed meat and not the fresh-off-the bone style he was anticipating.

I had the day's special; meat loaf and mashed potatoes with green beans. -Nothing processed on my plate. The "meates-loafus" (a term coined by my old eating partner Don Washburn) was made today. The fresh green beans sauteed with hunks of bacon. The mashed spuds creamy in a coat of gravy. -Fill-you-up-scrumptious.

Now the caloric coup de gras; J&G pie. Doug ordered peanut butter banana. Chunks of banana in the creamy filling. I had a slice of Lemon Meringue. The recipe for this yellow-beauty was a first place winner at the 1998 Heart of Illinois Fair. It still holds up as a Grand Champion 13 years later. Our bill with drinks and coffee; $21.30 plus tip.

The Pumphrey clan plans to open a second restaurant at the old Tasty Freeze location in Elmwood this March. It'll feature ice cream and hamburgers.

In the meantime, the J&G is A-number-one for small town inexpensive grub.

The J&G is open six days a week. Call ahead if you want your order ready when you walk in the door.

J&G County Cafe
110 Magnolia
Elmwood
(309)742-4500
Monday-Friday 7am-7pm
Saturday 7am-2pm
Closed Sunday

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