Amish Adventures in Arthur, Illinois Abound

Amish are known for non-electric homes, peaceful lifestyle, hard work, and traditional values and beliefs.

Family Health Foods store with cars in front and back of Amish buggy to the far right.Ready for a Central Illinois road trip? Amish country in Arthur offers plenty to do.

Enjoy driving Country roads to appreciate farm scenes, walk downtown Arthur for a small town shopping experience, or venture into the local, rural shops for some fun browsing. I wanted to share some of our favorites with you.

Sign above door for Green Meadow FarmGreen Meadow Farm offers goat products. Now, hold on. I’m not usually a goat milk fan because to me it tastes like a goat smells. Green Meadow storefront.However, Green Meadow Farms offers mild goat milk that tastes great. They also offer a tasty goat milk yogurt as well as Sissell Supplements.

Country Salvage sign. Hours are Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.Country Salvage offers groceries at discount prices. I absolutely love to shop at Country Salvage. Note their open hours on their sign and be sure to plan your shopping to catch them open. Merchandise inside Country Salvage grocery store.There are regular groceries, damaged items, and other discounted items. You’ll find sales and specials too. They offer items you will find in any grocery store as well as speciality items you won’t find everywhere. Be sure to bring a cooler if you shop in warmer weather.Merchandise inside Country Salvage grocery store displayed in bins.







Storefront of Family Health FoodsIt has been fun to watch Family Health Foods grow in their merchandise offerings over the years we’ve been shopping at their store. Merchandise inside Family Health Foods store.They offer a good variety of health supplements, kitchen cookware items, cookbooks, gift items, and other food items. You’ll find the advertising health food magazines if you read these to keep up with new products. Staff are extremely helpful.Merchandise inside Family Health Foods store.

Beachy’s Bulk Foods is a fun store too. If you’re in the market for baking needs, be sure to drop in. Flours, sugars and bulk candies and crackers will be found here. Gift items, toys, and lots of other stuff. As the name implies, they offer foods in bulk. One of our favorite items had been gummy chicken feet, but they have all kinds of gummy candies.

Yoder’s Kitchen is a great place to eat in Arthur proper. On weekends and prime tourist time you’ll have to wait in line for a seat unless you plan ahead to beat the rush or arrive other than peak meal times. Traditional comfort foods and desserts are on the buffet. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, salad bar, and ice cream machine are a few items. You can also order off the menu if you prefer.

When you are ready to explore, be sure to plan plenty of time for shopping in Amish Country. Country Salvage storefront.Also, bring cash. While some stores accept credit cards, there are some that only accept cash and possibly checks. There is an annual Arthur Mennonite Relief Sale at the Otto Center. August 24-25, 2018 is the next one. It is a great opportunity to eat some great foods and buy some Amish/Mennonite made products at the benefit auction and market.

If you are not familiar with the Amish culture and traditions, I encourage you to read about it online. As with any culture, you will want to be informed so as to be respectful. Amish are known for non-electric homes, peaceful lifestyle, hard work, and traditional values and beliefs. We have been blessed to meet and become friends with an Amish family and have enjoyed their friendship, laughter, and mutual prayer support.Merchandise inside Country Salvage displayed in bins.

Have Breakfast & Dinner for Supper at The Breakwater Family Restaurant

. . . have both breakfast and dinner for supper! Oh, and consider dessert . . . the list of choices makes it tempting.

The Ashland Burger with curly fries.The Breakwater Family Restaurant

1111 E. Cloverland Dr., Ironwood, MI

Hungry but not sure if you want breakfast or dinner for supper? Give this family restaurant a try and have one or both for supper!

Booth seating inside The Breakwater Family Restaurant.Venue: Sit down diner style restaurant with lots of booth seating. There are some tables in the rear corner area.

Atmosphere: Casual hometown feel.

Food Fare: Breakfast can be ordered any time but there are lots of sandwiches, salads, and dinner choices depending how hungry you are. Pete enjoyed the Ashland Burger consisting of a 1/2 lb. burger with bacon and an over easy egg along with lettuce, tomato and American cheese. So, it is possible to have both breakfast and dinner for supper! I had the Veggie Omelet with fruit. Veggie omelet with 2 slices of bacon and slight view of fruit cup.The fruit cup was 1/2 an orange, grapes, and pineapple. The fruit was tasty and the side order of bacon was nice and crispy. We have eaten here before and we’ve not been disappointed.Two orange slices and pineapple in fruit cup bowl.

Recommendations: There are 3 locations for this restaurant. Ashland, WI; Superior, WI; and Ironwood, MI. We’ve only eaten at the Ironwood location but consider stopping at any of the 3 if your in their neck of the woods. Oh, and consider dessert. I’ve not had any of them but the list of choices makes it tempting. Check out The Breakwater Restaurant website and menu.

Desserts board listing pies, muffins, and other choices.Service: We’ve always had solid service at the Ironwood location.

Return Rating: Yes, we will definitely eat here again.The Breakwater Family Restaurant sign.

Big Mouth Burger Company

All of the food was delicious. We both thought our burger buns were worth going off the carb wagon for.

Small mouth burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and onion rings.Big Mouth Burger Company


124 Planters St, Emory, Texas

Driving through Emory, Texas we noticed this burger joint across the town square and made a mental note to try it sometime. It just looked interesting and we’re always up for a good burger.

Venue: A casual, small town burger joint with a fun décor.Storefront for Big Mouth Burger Company

Atmosphere: You’re welcomed when noticed and you can sit at any of the 12 tables. Not sure  if all of them were named, but we sat at the “Poker Table.” I did notice there was a Liar’s Table.”Poker Table sign on wall over our table. Ketchup, straws, napkins, salt, pepper, sweeteners also on table.


Food Fare: The menu had a lot of great looking choices. When asked what was good, our waitress replied, “All of it.” She did specifically recommend the Wild Wild West hamburger. It had a jalapeño bun and Pete enjoyed it. Wild Wild West burger with French fries I had a small mouth burger with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo. The bacon I added was a smart decision. Also, I opted for onion rings. All of the food was delicious. We both thought our burger buns were worth going off the carb wagon for. The french fries were seasoned and crunchy with a softer inner potato texture. They were good but would have been better if crispier. We love well done fries. There are a variety of sandwich choices in addition to the burgers as well as salads. There are fried pies for dessert. We split a peach one and it was just the right size to offer a bit of sweet for both of us.

Small mouth burger with onion ringsRecommendations: Look over the menu at all the great choices. There are quite a few that fall in the spicy category, but you can build your Big or Small Mouth Burger to suit. You’ll want to save room for a sugared fried pie or get one to go.

Service: Solid Service. Our tea ran out so Pete took our cups up for a refill. Our waitress apologized after this and did let us know she could get to go cups for us if we wished. It was a busy time with lots of diners. It wasn’t like she was ignoring us. She owned it and still received a tip.

Return Rating: Definitely! Wanna try out a different sandwich.

Fried Chicken Buffet at KFC

Delicious buffet with salad bar and an ice cream machine. Love the SoBe Life Water at the fountain. It is nice to have a diet drink other than unsweetened tea that’s not a soda.

Plate of KFC chicken salad, coleslaw and cottage cheese.In the mood for a buffet of all you can eat chicken?

We stopped at this KFC years ago and really enjoyed the offerings. Recently we revisited this northern Wisconsin KFC in Plover.

Venue: Kentucky Fried Chicken offering fast food off the menu or via buffet.

Atmosphere: Nicely decorated table or booth dining area included a stone fireplace and TV.nside seating tables and tv above fireplace.

Food Fair: Delicious buffet with salad bar and an ice cream machine. Drinks were included in the buffet price. View of buffet including ice cream machine.Several varieties of fried chicken, biscuits, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cole slaw were among the choices.

Recommendations: Give the buffet a try. This location and the one in Harrisburg, Illinois have had better buffet food choices than other smaller KFC’s we’ve been to. Love the SoBe Life Water at the fountain. It is nice to have a diet drink other than unsweetened tea that’s not a soda.Picture of soda fountain drink area

Service: Friendly staff and clean tables!

Return rating: Definitely when we are in the area and in a buffet mood. Yes, its KFC. Yes, it is fast food, but in a clean and friendly setting.

Food on buffet line: chicken, corn, chicken and noodles, other items.

Salad bar area of buffet. Cole slaw, butter packets, dressing choices, croutons, lettuce, and other items.




Check out these recipes I shared from “Twenty Favorite Recipes of Col. Harland Sanders” booklet:  Buttermilk Pie, Chess Pie, and Hotwater Pie Crust. They are all delicious and I share my experiences making these recipes to encourage and assist you when you attempt them.

Grandpa John’s Rib Shack

We enjoyed the ribs and pulled pork served in rectangle cake pans.

Pulled pork dinner with sweet potato fries, waffle cornbread, and Cole slaw served in a rectangle cake panGrandpa John’s Rib Shack


2328 W. Willow Knolls Dr., Peoria, Illinois

We had been wanting to try this small, local diner. It appeared to be popular as shown by the number of folks that ate there during our visit.


Order counter window and soda fountainVenue: Order at the counter and grab a seat. Your food is delivered to your table.


Inside table seating at Grandpa John's Rib Shack



Atmosphere: Casual setting with homey country décor. Table seating inside as well as outside seating in season.




Ribs and French fries in rectangular cake panFood Fare: We enjoyed the ribs and pulled pork. Sweet potato fries were great. The corn bread waffle was dry but worth a try. Butter would have helped. Food is served in rectangle cake pans. While the food was tasty, there were temperature issues: the cole slaw was warm and the meat could have been hotter.


Recommendations: Check out the specials. A dinner provides a lot of food if your’re real hungry.Outside seating at Grandpa John's Rib Shack on sidewalk by front door


Service: Typical order at the counter service.


Return Rating: Have to be in the mood.

Grandpa John's Rib Shack store front

Name Says It: Whataburger

Service is always friendly. Get everything on your burger: lettuce, tomato, mustard, and onion. Plan to add ketchup, regular or spicy, to your burger yourself.

Whataburger items: 2 cups, 2 burgers, box of French fries, 2 ketchup packet all displayed on a tableOn our first trip to Texas, a friend told us we had to eat at Whataburger and raved about how great the hamburgers are.

He was right!

Venue: Fast food restaurant chain in Texas. Note: Texas is a Whataburger state.

Atmosphere: Fast food environment. Order at the counter and the food is delivered to your table along with ketchup, salt, pepper, and napkins. Locations we have stopped at offer booth and table seating. Tables are kept clean.

Food Fare: Burgers, other sandwiches, and salads as well as breakfast. French Fries and onion rings as well. Check out their website for more information.Two sizes of Whataburger sandwiches with packet of ketchup

Recommendations: Get everything on your burger: lettuce, tomato, mustard, and onion. Add avocado and other toppings you want at an additional cost, but it is worth it. Don’t forget the bacon! Plan to add ketchup to your burger yourself as it doesn’t come standard. Mustard is standard unless you specify otherwise. The ketchup comes in little rectangle cups in regular or spicy flavors.  I love the taste of the regular ketchup. My husband enjoys the spicy.

Sometimes your receipt will have an invitation to share your feedback for which you get a coupon. If you get one, do be sure to complete it. Also, there is a Whataburger App if you find you are frequenting often.

Two Whataburger cups with order number 96 on tableService: Always friendly. It is unique to walk into a fast food restaurant where employees are happy to work there as well as happy to serve customers.

Return Rating: Definitely.


Fabulous Food at Demolition Coffee

The only danger I can think of is that if you eat here once, you’ll want to return again!

Storefront of Demolition CoffeeDemolition Coffee

215 East Bank Street
Petersburg, VA 23803

Atmosphere, great food and a variety of drinks make this a coffee shop that offers you an “experience” when spending time here. It’s a great candidate if your in the market to find your favorite coffee shop!

Venue: Coffee Shop in an interesting building that offers a great theme.

Atmosphere: Relaxed, casual environment. There is a nice outdoor patio area offering additional seating if the weather is cooperative.Outside patio at Demolition Coffee

Food Fare: Everything we had tasted great! A few of our choices were: Lox N’ LoadedLox N' Loaded plated food with smoked salmon, tomato, cream cheese, red onion, capers on a toasted bagel and the Short Fuse with Baked Potato Soup. They offer a 1/2 sandwich with 1/2 soup or 1/2 salad. This was a great way to try several of the menu items and not get too full.Short Fuse 1/2 sandwich with baked potato soup. The short fuse is a BLT version.

Recommendations: Be prepared for a noisy environment and a bit of a wait on your food if you go at a busy time. Even though it was busy, we were able to carry on conversation at our table. Busy inside view of Demolition CoffeeLook over the menu as there appears to be a lot of flavorful selections or check the website before you go. There is WiFi, but we didn’t use it during our family lunch. Note, the only danger I can think of is that if you eat here once, you’ll want to return again!Half salad and half sandwich

Service: Order and pick up your food at the counter. Remove your dishes, table service, and trash to the alcove housing the bus tubs and garbage can.

Return Rating: Definitely if we were in the area!Seated man statue at entrance to Demolition Coffee.



Sweet Tooth Satisfaction at The Original Fried Pie Shop

Offering fruit, cream, breakfast, or supper pies. The crust is firm and nicely browned. Check out their website to drool over pie pictures and find a location near you!

Blackberry fried pie on a pottery plate with several bites taken off it.The Original Fried Pie Shop

2303 E. Malone Avenue
Sikeston MO 63801

We literally tripped across this little shop and were so glad we did. Actually, we were going to Lambert’s Café and missed our turn. Due to circumstances we scratched our plan to go to Lambert’s and then decided to cut through Sikeston to double back and grab a bite at Lambert’s. We weren’t on a strict schedule. First, we had to refuel and stopped at the gas mart that also housed this shop. We weren’t going to even go inside, but changed our minds.Display case for fried pies with employee behind case.

Note that we were going to eat lunch at Lambert’s which has the All You Can Eat Pass Arounds. (Watch for a future blog on Lambert’s.) We weren’t in the market to eat pie right then. We did sample a fried apple pie which was fabulous. We bought 3 pies to go.

Inside of shop showing table and chair seating.Venue: The Original Fried Pie Shop is part of a gas station stop in Sikeston, Missouri. After looking at their website, I learned they are a franchise. Check out their website to find a location near you and to drool over the pie pictures.

Atmosphere: Diner décor type setting with tables and chairs to dine in if you wish. You can custom order your pie and they’ll fry it up hot right then.

Food Fare: Fried pies of all varieties. Fruit, cream, breakfast, or supper pies. The crust is firm and nicely browned.Counter and menu board and inside shop

Recommendations: Try the sample on the counter. These pies are large. Buy several so you can enjoy by sharing at the time of purchase and also take some home to freeze for later. We had one in the freezer for a short time and pulled it to enjoy. The blackberry pie just short of frozen was delicious! You can warm them up in the oven, but a microwave is not recommended to prevent them from getting soggy.

Service: Friendly and quick service. We selected 3 pies from the display case.

Return Rating: Definitely!

Sign in shop thanking and inviting customers back and asking for contact info for future communication.

Cayuga Texas Grill & Country Store

Quality food at small town gas stations is not common. Food was made when ordered and sandwich buns were toasted on the grill.

Bacon burger in basket with French fries on tin foil and bottle of Diet Coke all sitting on a tableCayuga Texas Grill & Country Store

US 287
Cayuga, Texas

Venue: A back road truck stop. While not as fancy as TA or Love’s, it is quite serviceable.

Atmosphere: Small town gas station, convenience store that also sells hot food that is made to order. There are actually a good many tables for its size.Tables and chairs in dining area of gas station. Plants are in window to left of seating area and products are on back wall.

Food Fare: We enjoyed a bbq sandwich, large fry, and bacon cheeseburger with 2 Diet Coke’s for $16.62. Not a bad price and the food was made when ordered. Both sandwiches had buns toasted on the grill and the sweet bbq was hot (with heat).

Barbeque sandwich on styrofoam plate and bottle of Diet Coke sitting on a table.Recommendations: Bathrooms were located behind the building and you have to walk outside to get to them. The workers were friendly and our food was received as ordered. Grab your drinks of choice from the cooler.

Service: Order and pay at the counter, and food is delivered to your table.Cayuga Texas Grill and Country Store sign. Has a yellow smiley face with a cowboy hat and says, "Come On In . . . "

Return Rating: Yes, if hungry and going by. Quality food at small town gas stations are not common. We need to remember this one.Cayuga Texas Grill & Country Store metal building with overhang of gas pump

Holding out for Pasty Paid off at The Pasty Oven

Meat and potato folks will love this original pot pie! If you’ve never had pasty, try the traditional version.

Golden pasty on a plate with a cup of tea on the sideThe Pasty Oven

Hwy U.S. 2
Quinnesec, MI

We were hungry and had been looking for somewhere different to eat in the Upper Peninsula — maybe a “hole in the wall” type place. It was a bit past lunch time and we had driven through a few larger towns and thought our opportunity may have passed to find a local eatery. Ever been in this situation?
Then it occurred to us that we should stop at a local pasty place. We had already driven by several. Well, you know how it is when you get such an idea in your head. Short of being on the verge of starving we were holding out for pasty. Fortunately, we found it!The Pasty Oven business sign

Venue: Small, local eatery right off U.S. Hwy 2. Inside table seating or drive through service available.

Atmosphere: Casual, quaint, and pleasant.

Food Fare: What we had was delicious. Golden, crispy onion rings were served hot as was the pasty. basket of crispy, golden onion rings with bottle of ketchup on sidePete enjoyed the large traditional pasty with rutabaga while I had the chicken and cheese modern version. The chicken pasty filling was delicious. While we enjoyed their pasty, we both agreed that the crust did not measure up to the pasty crust made at Rigoni’s Bakery in Ironwood, Michigan by Bob the Baker.

Recommendations: If you’ve never had pasty, try the traditional version. Pasty on plate, cut in half to expose filling of meat and rutabaga Pasty is the original “pot pie” but way better. Meat and potato folks will love it! Be sure to look over the menu as there were lots of other good food choices. Prices were good. Our bill was $17.10 plus tip and that included two hot teas. When we stopped, no other cars were in the parking lot—we weren’t even sure they were open—but they were. So, be sure to pull in the lot to check it out. Two other cars of folks stopped while we were eating plus a carry out. Check out their website at

Service: Courteous and friendly servers promptly served our food hot and as ordered.Inside The Pasty Oven with green and cream tiled floors and tables and chairs

Return Rating: DefinitelyChicken pasty on a plate, cut in half to expose filling

If you’re not planning to be in the UP or southern Wisconsin to sample some pasty, search out a recipe online to take a cuisine road trip. What regional foods do you enjoy at home or on the road?

Top Buffet – Good Food, Come Hungry

Good food and great prices at this All You Can Eat Chinese Buffet! If you’re in the area, it is worth a try. While the plaza and building do not look inviting, what is inside makes up for it.

Chinese food on a plate: crab rangoon, peanut chicken, noodles, mushrooms, crab and cheese dish.Top Buffet

515 Lansing Road

Charlotte, MI


My husband was hungry for all you can eat fish which we didn’t expect to find middle of the day and middle of the week. So, thanks to Google, we located Top Buffet cruising down Interstate 69.


Venue: All You Can Eat Chinese Buffet. While the plaza and building do not look inviting, what is inside makes up for it.Top Buffet storefront


Atmosphere: Casual dining with booth or table seating.

Table seating inside Chinese Buffet




Food Fare: Delicious food. Crab Rangoon, fried zucchini, peanut butter chicken, and tea were tasty. General Chicken was a bit soggy but good.The crab meat with cheese was over cooked by most people’s standards, but we like it with a crunchy top. Egg roll wrapper was a bit chewy and tough, but my husband didn’t have any trouble finding food for his second round. Dipped ice cream was available and staff tried to keep pre-scooped dishes on a tray in the freezer for you. Usually we encounter soft ice cream but this was hard as a rock—which is how I like it! So, if you want yours soft, be sure to plan ahead.

One buffet line at Chinese restaurant: desserts and fruit

Recommendations: Pricing was $6.99 for lunch and $8.99 for dinner. Great prices! If you’re in the area, it is worth a try.There was no wasabi, ginger, or sushi but with these prices we had no complaints. We also noticed there were other cost management measures such as no chopsticks or hot tea teapot. Note: They are closed on Mondays and also offer carry out.Chinese food buffet line with entrees and vegetables


Service: Staff was helpful and friendly. Our hot tea was refilled multiple times. We did get our fortune cookie which was crisp and fresh. The fortune was only printed on one side.


Return Rating: Definitely.Buffet tables at Chinese Buffet

Looking for a small town café? Try SOB for a great burger!

Good food and solid service with reasonable prices. You can relax and enjoy the atmosphere at this small town café.

Two plates with hamburger and fries

When you wonder what kind of food South of the Border Café serves, keep in mind which border it is near. It is a true Grand Marais, MN local haunt that you will want to definitely experience.

Venue: A small town café that is open 5:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. everyday. Booth seating encompasses the main dining area as well as the back room.

Inside of cafe showing booth seating, door to back room and coffee pot area

Atmosphere: Casual and often very busy.

Food Fare: Breakfast or lunch items served all day. Fresh breaded, fried herring when in season. Great hamburgers as well as omelets.

Plated omelet with hot sauce, bacon and toast

Recommendations: Order the herring if in season. Bring cash as they don’t accept credit cards. Check out any specials on the white board above the coffee pot area.

Service: Always good, solid service. One of the reasons we love SOB is because Peg, one of the waitresses, adds to the experience of dining here.

Peg, waitress at cafeShe self-defined as the snarkiest waitress in town. She is friendly but will definitely tell you how it is in her honest, flavorful manner.

Return Rating: Definitely. Prices are reasonable, food is good, and we feel at home.Picture of front of menu: 2 guys in small fishing boat

South of the Border Cafe storefront