EDWARDS, Ill. -- What once was a rustic, old home has since been converted to country restaurant. This week on "You Gotta Eat", Joe Bennett takes us to a saloon that boasts the best burgers around.
Sandwiched between neighborhood antique stores on the main drag in Edwards, Ludy's Kickapoo Creek Saloon invites small families, big game hunters, and friendly bikers alike.
"This fall, we had some horses hitched up to the car rail out there, so it is kind of a country little place. They'll ride their horses up and hook them there," said Owner Lynn Ludolph.
Ludolph does what she can to promote local food producers. The meat comes from Pottstown Meat and Deli, and the soups are made from scratch. This summer, the restaurant served vegetables grown by a farmer in town.
"It just tastes home made and it's very good. Very good. I didn't know they use a local farmer but yeah, it's good," said Mary Jo Heathcoat, a frequent customer.
Ludy's caters to locals in other ways, such as hosting big game competitions during hunting season and providing a pit stop for bikers.
"We travel around a lot, go to a lot of places and get tenderloins and cheeseburgers. That's what we do. They taste good. That's all I can tell you," said Ron "Mongo" Allen of "Mongo's Mongrels".
The eating team ordered the two dishes Ludy's is most known for: the tenderloin for Anna Yee and a cheeseburger for me (Joe Bennett).
The tenderloin is trimmed at Pottstown then trimmed again in the kitchen before being fried in Ludy's home-made batter. Anna said it was crunchy and perfect. The cheeseburger is so thick it falls apart as you eat it, but it's well worth the effort, cooked evenly throughout, juicy and prepared to order. It's like being at gourmet grill-out.
Our meals with sides and two drinks came to $21.40 plus tip. And for a piece of history, head back to the game room where you'll see the floor of the old Spalding High School gym. Call it Irish pride. The Ludolphs have mostly graduated from Spalding or Notre Dame.
"It's pretty much the anchor back here. When they come back to play pool, some people will say, 'Oh, I played on this!'," said Ludolph.
Ludy's Kickapoo Creek Saloon is in Edwards at 9828 on route 150. They open at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday serving food for lunch and dinner. They open at noon on Sunday.