My 10 Favorite Restaurants to Visit in Springfield

Springfield, Illinois has its own atmosphere and great places to eat that are part of the laid-back Honest Abe, Route 66. The capital of Illinois is famous for its comfort dog/hot dog on a stick and horseshoe, the which is a slab of heart-slicing meat on toast with potatoes and then covered in a wonderful cheese sauce. If you’re not ready for the horseshoe, there’s the smaller pony shoe version.

Springfield has local restaurants that I enjoy frequenting. They have been introduced to me over the years through friends, family and my love of trying new poses! Some places are only open for breakfast and lunch, while others are only open for dinner.

Please note that after COVID, websites are not always up to date and sometimes restaurant hours change due to staffing issues.

Chesapeake Seafood House in Springfield, Illinois

The exterior of Chesapeake Seafood House

Photo: Cindy Ladage

1. Chesapeake Seafood House

Open for dinner, this is an old family favorite. The nautical vibe is a lot of fun. My favorite food to order is the crab stuffed shrimp, while my seafood loving son’s favorites are the lobster tail and shrimp. The restaurant is housed in a house built in 1857 by the McGredy family. It was once surrounded by a peach orchard. It’s a great seafood house since 1983 and is across the street from the Bergen Golf Course. Keep in mind that while they’re known as a seafood house, they also offer hand-cut steaks.

Pro tip: You can make reservations at the Chesapeake Seafood House, which is one of my favorite aspects of this wonderful restaurant.

2. Springfield Carriage House

This is a recent favorite. Similar to the Chesapeake Seafood House, this lovely two-story building has a lot of history. The house was owned by John Zellars, who was a Teamster and farmer. He bought the land from Elijah Iles, one of Springfield’s first settlers, in 1840. He then built and moved into the house sometime in the 1850s.

Decorated with Lincoln memorabilia and antiques, the restaurant is small, but great. If you go up, you have to be agile, because the steps are quite steep! They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. For lunch, I love the Italian roast beef sandwich. It’s tender and big enough for two. I also liked the corn fritters with ranch dressing. They have an extensive breakfast menu and you can make a reservation.

Pro tip: The Springfield Carriage House is within walking distance of the only home Abraham Lincoln ever owned!

3. D’Arcy’s Pint

An Irish pub, this fun restaurant has a traditional pub atmosphere in a modern building. Open for lunch and dinner, give yourself plenty of time when dining at D’Arcy’s because this popular spot almost always has a bit of a wait. They don’t take reservations.

While it is famous for its horse and pony shoes, my favorite item is the Swiss mushroom burger. Although, the cheese sauce on the shoe is hard to beat!

Giant pancake at Charlie Parker's Diner

Charlie Parker’s Diner’s famous giant pancakes

Photo: Cindy Ladage

4. Charlie Parker’s Diner

Open for breakfast and lunch, Charlie Parker’s Diner is located in a typical Quonset hut. Decorated in a 50’s style, you can’t help but smile when you enter. If you leave hungry from the large helpings, it’s your own fault. I prefer this place to eat for its great breakfast menu. It’s a big family favorite!

Waffles are hard to beat, as are omelet combinations. My sister swears by the breakfast burrito. Guy Fieri visited and filmed an episode for Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Diving! The pancakes are huge and my favorite is the pecan pancake.

5. Saputo

Open for dinner, Saputo’s offers Italian dining in style. This local restaurant located in downtown Springfield was founded in 1948 by Frank and Florine Saputo. Their specialties include Italian breaded steak, red sauce, beef parmesan and chicken parmesan.

My personal favorite every time I go is the oven lasagna with meat sauce and mushrooms. They also have steak and seafood. This is a great place for evening and celebration restaurant. We have celebrated New Years here and other important events many times over the years. They accept reservations.

Papa Franks is on the west side, close to the mall and shopping district. It is also owned by the same family so you can get the same quality food for lunch or dinner.

Pro tip: Near the BOS Center, Saputo’s is a great place to eat when you go to events at this great venue.

6. Westwood’s Lodge Pub And Grill

Located on the west side of the city, this fun place offers an amazing variety of food. If you like venison etc this is where you should go. I like the fun atmosphere that is heavy on the sports scene. My favorite food here is the burgers or a grilled portobello. You can book and the cost is affordable. They are open for lunch and dinner.

Pro tip: At Westwoods, you have the opportunity to try foods you might not otherwise have, such as duck or other meats not usually offered in restaurants.

Finley's Tap House in Illinois

Brian Salisbury, beverage director at Finley’s Tap House

Photo: Cindy Ladage

7. Finley’s Tap House

On their website, they share that Finley’s Tap House is their interpretation of a gastropub. They offer regular drinks, craft cocktails and a handcrafted, fresh daily beer-inspired menu. A lot of things are good on Finley’s menu, but my favorite is the fish and chips. It’s big enough to easily serve two. They also have amazing onion rings and crispy brussels sprouts. They are open for dinner daily and lunch on weekends.

8. Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery

This fun microbrewery is located in a lovely historic home. They offer a variety of brewed beers. Strawberry blonde is my favorite beer and Margherita pizza is my favorite menu item, although I can never say no to their onion rings either!

If the weather is nice, Obed’s offers a great beer garden. They also have many summer events.

Pro tip: From May to September, on the first and third Wednesday of the month there is a Moonlight Market with artists and artisans!

9. The Chili Parlor

Open for lunch, be sure to have a bowl of chili! On a cold winter day, there’s nothing better than Den Chili’s famous “Joe Rogers” recipe! Open since 1945, this great place serves chili and you can specify how hot. As for me, I like it mild. I enjoy it in the chilly weather and fill my bowl with crackers and enjoy! At The Chili Parlor, you can also add chili burgers, chili dogs and tamales.

The Cozy Dog Drive-In in Springfield, Illinois

Art by Bob Waldmire inside the Cozy Dog Drive-In

Photo: Cindy Ladage

10. Cozy Dog Drive In

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a visit to Springfield is not complete without a stop at the Cozy Dog Drive-In. This Route 66 icon is home to the original hot dog on a stick and has been open since 1949. In addition to the fun food, you can’t miss some of the great Route 66 artwork that Bob Waldmire made famous on display. Springfield is full of great places to eat and things to do in the capital. Taking time to eat good food along the way enhances your visit. The Springfield Visitor’s Center can help you find accommodations and events to make your stay even better!

For more information on traveling to Illinois, check out these articles:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *