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Would Abe Have Eaten a “Horseshoe”?

Submitted by on September 14, 2014 – 8:49 amNo Comment

illinois_springfield_charlie-diner Special to Road Trips for Foodies
From the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau

The dining scene in Springfield, Illinois, is eclectic, with plenty of upscale eateries, farm-to-table restaurants and national chains. But the city that Abraham Lincoln loved also has its fair share of quirky food traditions, original Route 66 treats and “as-seen-on-TV” curiosities that appeal to both adventurous eaters and those that crave down-home comfort food.

Let’s start with the “Horseshoe” sandwich,” created in 1928 at the old Leland Hotel. Named for the shape of the ham once used to top this open-faced sandwich, it features a meat of your choice (hamburger and turkey are popular), topped with a generous pile of french fries, lavishly drenched with a secret recipe cheese sauce. Most local restaurants offer their own version of this hometown treat. D’Arcy’s Pint serves up a whopping 4,000 of these sandwiches a week, in interesting combinations such as the “State Fair Horseshoe,” with a base of ribeye steak, Italian sausage, peppers, onions and mini corndogs.

If you’re searching for a taste of old Route 66, Springfield can dish up a bellyful of flavors that originated right here. Travelers along the “Mother Road” often stop for an original “Cozy Dog” at the Cozy Dog Drive In, still operated by the same family that founded the business in 1949. The restaurant is packed with Route 66 memorabilia, souvenirs, and plenty of travelers from around the globe making the iconic trip across the United States.

If you prefer you meat “loose,” stop by the Maid Rite, the world’s first and oldest drive up window restaurant, founded in 1926. The signature sandwich consists of seasoned ground beef and is topped with ketchup, mustard, onions and pickles, causing an early taster to comment “This sandwich is made right.”

Can you get a good breakfast in a Quonset hut? Charlie Parker’s Diner has been serving up breakfast and lunch to locals and travelers alike in a Quonset hut since the early ‘90’s. The favorite eatery has won numerous awards and received regional and national press for their great food and outstanding service, including being featured by Guy Fieri on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Finish a stack of their giant pancakes (the pancakes are pizza-sized, by the way) and they’re free.

(Photo courtesy of Charlie Parker’s Diner)

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