You Gotta Eat: Castaways

By WEEK Producer

June 19, 2014 Updated Jun 20, 2014 at 3:22 PM CDT

CHILLICOTHE, Ill. -- It’s known for its huge, deep-battered hamburgers, but Castaways in Chillicothe is a whole lot more.

Eric Greene shows us what they're serving up at this hometown tradition.

As you approach the building at 1707 North Fourth St., you really can't tell what to expect inside.

“We're not fancy. We're just fun,” said Amanda Oedewaldt.

She bought the old Chilli Tap Bar nine years ago, then expanded and transformed it into Castaways, which will remind you of a joint at a Florida Marina -- so laid back, it’s hard to summon the energy to leave.

"I love to vacation in Florida,” said Oedewaldt. “I love the beach. I just wanted to bring a bit of that here, where people could feel relaxed and kind of get away from real life for a minute."

Away from real life, and into some tough menu choices -- there's so much.

Videographer Larry Foulk and I came to Castaways during lunch hour on a Thursday.

For the locals, Thursday is a big deal. Because it’s Taco Day.

Tacos were far and away the top choice among the loyal Castaways crowd this day. But not at our table. Daring to be different, Larry and I started with some wings.

They have 20 sauces. We got the homemade blue cheese and garlic Parmesan.

For our meal, Larry went for the GFS sandwich -- pepperoni, ham, cole slaw and mozzarella on Texas toast.

For me, Amanda suggested the bacon cheeseburger pizza with fries on top.

Like the old candy bar ad said, “indescribably delicious,” in a place as unique as its menu.

"I can't call it homey, but maybe a hometown feel to it," said Castaways customer Mark Monier.

"It's very hometown, very casual. You don't have to get all dressed up to come in,” said Becky Shimp, another Castaways customer. “Very good service."

What about the check? For the wings, Larry's sandwich and my pizza, plus soft drinks -- $37.57.

Plus, we had food to-go, and could not eat the rest of the day.

Castaways opens at 11 a.m., seven days a week, with varying close times.

In Chillicothe, I'm Eric Greene.

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