September 9, 2010

Ernie's Dairy Dream

By Eric Shangraw

September 9, 2010 Updated Sep 9, 2010 at 9:02 PM CDT

An ice-cream stand on Peoria's south side serves more than milk shakes.

Ernie's Dairy Dream also has fried-food with exceptional flavor.

News 25's Eric Shangraw is having lunch on a picnic table in this week's You Gotta Eat.

Ernie's Dairy Dream is a mainstay on Peoria South Side. The walk up and order at the window business features all kinds of ice cream treats popular in the summer. But the fried-side of the menu sells year round.

Ernie Baldock, Junior coats chicken in a special batter every day. His father, Ernie Senior, started the business in 1959. Junior is one of the few entrepreneurs still left in this part of Peoria.

"Neighborhood has changed. The people have changed. People don't own their own homes anymore. They're all rental properties. But people still come down here," said Baldock.

"I come here for good chicken. Food. It is quick, easy and fast," said customer Jake Irions.

"The fact that their food is so good is because they've been here such a long time. I know I've come here two or three years already," said customer Ronnie Taylor.

I ordered the three-piece chicken dinner. It comes with a roll, potato wedges and cole slaw. There is no indoor seating. But outside works fine this time of the year. The wedges are cut fresh from real potatoes and coated in the same batter used on the chicken before being deep fried for ten minutes. The chicken conjures up memories of Sunday night dinner at Grandmas.

Photographer Larry Faulk had a tenderloin with everything on it. The tenderloins batter is different from the chickens. Larry said the tenderloin was terrific.

Our bill; $15.05. I was full when it was over. Larry found room in his hallow leg for an ice cream peanut butter cup mix. That was another four dollars.

If you want ice cream or fried-food on the run, Ernie's is one place for a pit stop.

Ernie's Dairy Dream is at 2600 South West Jefferson. They are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

Ernie's Dairy Dream
2600 SW Jefferson
Peoria

(309)673-0240

Mon-Fri 10am-8pm
Sat-Sun 11-8pm

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