Springfield, Illinois: Big Flavors in a Small Town
Stops at the State Capitol buildings (both new and old) and Abraham Lincoln’s Presidential Library and Museum are certainly trip worthy, but so is the town’s growing culinary scene.
Springfield is a small town brimming with an immense amount of history, culture and local charm. Not only does historic Route 66 run through this quaint Midwestern town, but it’s the hometown of one of the most revered presidents in U.S. history, Abraham Lincoln. Originally famous for its Route 66 diners, Springfield boasts a growing number of farms, food purveyors and even a vineyard, making it an up-and-coming getaway for food lovers.
American Harvest Eatery: Farm-to-Plate with Chef Jordan Coffey
Chefs Jordan and Aurora Coffey at American Harvest Eatery have helped put Springfield on the culinary map. There’s a delightful sense of camaraderie between these chefs and local farmers and businesses, which is evidenced in their ever-changing menu and restaurant motto, “True to the Season. True to the Region.” Made with fresh, local ingredients, the food here references familiar dishes but in an alluring, creative way. The house-made ravioli stuffed with pork, butternut squash, oyster mushrooms and farmer’s cheese is bound to win hearts.
Seasonal ingredients make lunch exceptional at American Harvest Eatery
Eat Well at the Old Capitol Farmers Market
Nothing beats the sights and smells of a small-town farmers market – the heady scent of fresh peaches and apples, or the irresistible crunch of just-picked pecans. Set in the heart of downtown Springfield, the Old Capitol Farmers Market is the ideal spot to discover Springfield’s grass-roots food culture. It’s an appetizing stroll as you wander through an ample area featuring local produce and meats, artisanal baked goods, gourmet cheese, fresh-cut flowers and more. Stock up on picnic supplies or road trip fare as you drop by booths that strike your fancy.
Farm-fresh pumpkins and squash at the Old Capitol Farmers Market
Fuel up at Custom Cup Coffee
When it comes to coffee, what could be better than a freshly roasted and brewed cup of the good stuff? Brent and Kendra Biesdorfer, the husband and wife team behind Custom Cup Coffee, have built their coffee philosophy around this very notion. This fair trade micro-roastery and charming coffee haven strives to serve the freshest cup possible. Whether you seek drip, pour over or cold brew, coffee beans are always roasted in-house then ground upon order. A rotating selection of coffee flavors entices even the most finicky coffee aficionados. Sit down and savor a terrific cup of roasted coffee or grab a bag to-go.
Bags of roasted Custom Cup Coffee
Sip and Sightsee at Danenberger Family Vineyards
Beyond the beauty of the Centennial Farmstead, you’ll discover a family-owned winery producing quality red and white wines right in rural Illinois. Five distinctive tasting areas (you can venture to the gazebo or plant yourself on the terrace) beckon visitors to a tranquil setting to sip and savor a glass of fruity Cabernet Franc or crisp Riesling. Of course, food and wine have always been the perfect pair. So it’s no surprise that the Danenberger Family Vineyards offers tours of the vineyards as well as exquisite, full-course pairing dinners.
Verdant grape vines at Danenberger Family Vineyards
Fly into O’Hare International Airport (ORD) or Midway International Airport (MDW) in Chicago, Illinois, then rent a car and drive approximately three hours, or take the train at Union Station to Springfield.