February 24, 2011

PJ's Featuring Jack & Jo's

By Eric Shangraw

February 25, 2011 Updated Feb 25, 2011 at 4:36 PM CDT

Mason City has a population of 2700, and one nice restaurant.

P-J's Featuring Jack & Jo's is small town culinary excellence.

Eric Shangraw makes the 45 minute drive from East Peoria to Mason County for this week's You Gotta Eat.

"P-J's Featuring Jack & Jo's" occupies 130-year old twin buildings in downtown Mason City. The owners bought one building for $5,000 a few years back. They gutted the Mason City Old Man's Club, and turned it into something special.

The warm decor features a pressed tin ceilings, and unique artwork. The regulars testify to the food.

"I'd say it is five-star quality. They got good meats. They season it well," said customer Nancy Leesman.

"They got the best pizza you ever ate," said customer Beth Leesman.

"I think (customers from out of town) expect the diner or bar food. And it is definitely not that," said owner Peggy Means, who runs the place with her son and husband.

Photographer Larry Faulk started with a Quiche Soup. The cream base holds scrambled eggs, bacon, spinach, and cheese. Larry said it didn't taste like breakfast. -just tasted good. I had a fresh salad with dried cranberry's and a house vinaigrette dressing.

Because we're celebrating our own version of steak month in February steak month, Larry had a Rib Eye; medium rare. P-J's steaks are hand-cut. Larry also had Haricot Verts; a.k.a Baby French Green Beans and a baked potato.

After four weeks of steaks, I went with New Orleans Pasta and Chicken. You'll detect a hint of hot sauce and custom Cajun seasoning. It was a table of terrific flavor. Our bill with drinks, $42.50 plus tip. The price alone is worthy of a Mason City road trip.

P-J's Featuring Jack & Jo's is open Tuesday through Friday for lunch and five nights a week for dinner. You won't miss it if you can find downtown Mason City.

PJ's Featuring Jack & Jo's
120 E. Chestnut
Mason City, IL

Phone: (217)482-3616
Reservations Recommended on Weekends

Tuesday-Friday 11am-1pm

Tuesday-Saturday Open 5pm