Deep history, great cuisine and of course Lincoln
Lysa Allman-Badwin | 11/7/2013, 3:58 p.m.
Their popular Sunday brunch includes items like the Slinger, made with andouille sausage, breakfast potatoes, fried eggs and sausage gravy over thick–cut toast; Papa Conn’s Original Breakfast, batter-dipped cinnamon raisin bread deep-fried golden brown with warm maple syrup and served with ham, sausage or bacon; the Meat Lover and Eggs, featuring Italian pork sausage and bacon on a sausage and gravy base with mozzarella and cheddar cheese then topped with two sunny side up or scrambled eggs; and the Spinach and Eggs Breakfast Flatbread. This midday delight is made with fresh spinach and mushrooms on a generous base of Alfredo sauce and mozzarella cheese topped with two sunny side up or scrambled eggs.
Fresh ingredients locally sourced from Illinois farmers take center stage at American Harvest Eatery—what I would call one of the best restaurants in the country. I wouldn’t be surprised if their chefs, husband and wife team Jordan and Aurora Coffey, started appearing as James Beard culinary award-winners in the near future.
The food here is beyond outstanding, and although they have several perennial favorites, the majority of the menu is created seasonally using the freshest ingredients from local farmers to create some of the most amazing dishes you’ll ever have. For example, there’s the butternut squash bisque with apple butter and chévre grilled cheese; a pumpkin couscous salad with cider vinaigrette, pepitas, feta and grapefruit; and the sweet onion Tart made with gruyere béchamel, arugula and a fried egg. The braised pork shank with acorn squash, brussels sprouts, pearl onions, owl bacon and maple glaze is to die for, while the sweet potato ravioli featuring Tuscan kale, fried hazelnuts, sage brown butter and feta, and the Jail Island salmon with glazed beets, wilted cabbage and horseradish mustard crema are sure to blow your mind.
Another of my absolute faves in town is Indigo, which has a distinctive yet eclectic Japanese-European vibe highlighted by outstanding wines and of course, fantastic food.
Starters include unusual pairings such as the hot dates—sun-dried dates stuffed with blue cheese and pecans wrapped in bacon and baked to a golden brown with balsamic reduction; the duck enchiladas with black bean and duck confit, corn tortillas, enchilada sauce, chili emulsion and Chihuahua cheese; the volcano shrimp, made with tiger shrimp cooked in Sriracha, Sambal fire sauce on Boursin cheese crostini; or any one of their delicious maki sushi rolls.
New Zealand rack of lamb, Canadian lobster, yellow fin Tuna and the most remarkable chilean sea bass you have ever had that didn’t just come out of the water are among their numerous entrée options. Although all of their dishes are plentiful in size, you would be remiss not to order a shareable side of the lobster mac, where lobster is paired with edamame and pasta and baked in a decadent six-cheese sauce. It is heart attack on a plate but well worth every single bite!
I definitely don’t want to leave out a lot of the other noteworthy restaurants in town, including the Brickhouse Grill & Pub, Saputo’s, Los Agaves, Amberjack Alehouse, Osaka, Thai Kitchen 2, Augie’s Front Burner or Fat Moe’s Chicago Style Eatery, among numerous great restaurants in and around town.
I can't wait to come back!
From Lincoln to historic sites and attractions, a wealth of Black history past and present, fascinating diversions, eclectic culinary options and more, Springfield is a wonderful Midwestern travel destination.
Lysa Allman-Baldwin writes for numerous online and print publications, including as the cultural travel writer for www.Examiner.com and as a senior travel writer for SoulOfAmerica.com, an Afrocentric travel website. Lysa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 1908 Race Riot Sculpture: www.epa.state.il.us/black-history/sculpture.html
- 1908 Race Riot Self-Guided Tour: http://visit-springfieldillinois.com/Documents/SCVB1908RaceRiotBrochure2012.pdf
- Air Combat Museum: 217-522-2181, www.aircombatmuseum.org
- American Harvest Eatery: 217-546-8300, www.americanharvesteatery.com
- Dana Thomas House: 217-782-6776, www.dana-thomas.org
- Edwards Place Historical Home: 217-523-2631, http://edwardsplace.org
- Illinois State Military Museum: 217-782-9365, www.springfield-il.com/attract/military.html
- Indigo Restaurant: 217-726-3487, www.indigocuisine.com
- Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery & Eatery: 217-670-0627, www.obedandisaacs.com
- Springfield and Central Illinois African-American History Museum: 217-528-2725, http://spiaahfmuseum.org
- Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau: 800-545-3700, http://visit-springfieldillinois.com
- Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site: 217-524-0901, www.vachellindsay.org/historicsite.html