Sometimes, you want a good burger. Other times, you want a great burger. That’s exactly how I felt when I woke up on this particular Sunday morning. In fact, I thought about it quite a bit that whole week … that is, I did after I realized Sunday Funday’s destination for the afternoon — Nowhere Bar & Grill in Victoria, Illinois.
From where the hubby and I live in Peoria, it’s not that far of a drive to Victoria, so we decided to extend the trip for a full day with our knees in the breeze. After some discussion of options, we decided to make a return trip to the Wolf Covered Bridge in rural Knox County, a place we’d visited the summer before with the old Vulcan.
After a short ride on I-474 to US 150 (War Memorial Drive), we headed west for a few miles, turning left on Kickapoo-Edwards Road. Outside Edwards, we took W. Southport Road (Route 8) for about 20 miles before hanging a right on Knox Road 1900 East, going even deeper into farm country. Now, what you need to know about me is that I grew up riding around on county roads, discussing life and the world with my dad. While the back roads are mostly gravel where I’m from, the paved county roads in Illinois provide the perfect opportunity to re-live the slow, easy pace I so fondly recall. So, there we were surrounded by fields and the wind and the sound of the engine below us. It was perfect peace.
As we wiggled our way from 1900 to County Highway 17 to Knox Road 1800 East, we chatted about random topics and the gloriousness of sharing a love for riding together. About then, we spotted the bridge off to our left. Wally took it quite slow the last half mile or so to the bridge, as that stretch of road had washed out during the season’s floods and was repaired with lots of loose gravel. Not fun, but tolerable with care and patience.
The bridge, over the Spoon River, is a typical covered bridge: red, wooden and not very long. Even so, the area around the bridge is quite serene. While no one was fishing on this particular day, we saw a few trying their luck on the last visit and could spot traces of them here and there — bobbers stuck in trees, random fishing line strewn across bushes, forked sticks pushed into the sandy shore for pole holders. After walking down to the water and checking out the bridge from several angles, it was time to continue our journey.
From there, we continued on 17 toward Knoxville, where we turned north on Knox Road 825 East. We then took Mine Road west to County Highway 9, continuing onto US 34 East toward Wataga. As we were just skirting Galesburg for this stretch, we didn’t have as much of the quiet countryside to enjoy; however, we were on new roads, and that is always a plus in our book.
On the north edge of Wataga is the junction with IL 167 East, which we took straight east into Victoria. Typical for us, we were still early; the bar wasn’t even open yet.
So, we explored Victoria for a little while (seriously, that’s a small town, so it really was just a little while).
Along the highway was a small park with a tank stationed at it. Of course, I had to take a photo to add to my collection of other roadside military equipment. Once we had sufficiently examined the tank, we wandered back to Nowhere Bar, and they were ready for us.
Located at 123 Main Street in Victoria, Nowhere Bar is bigger than you realize from the street. When you walk in, it looks like your typical small-town drinking establishment, with a small kitchen area and long bar along the left wall and tables along the right. About halfway across the room, on the right, is another room with bar games and such. And, if you keep heading toward the back, you come to a small hallway that opens up into a huge bar area. With a simple concrete floor, massive u-shaped bar and a corner stage, this is where the action usually happens on Fundays. But, we always start in the front room, where the food is.
Now, we have been to Nowhere several times now and tried many items on the menu and have yet to be disappointed. The appetizers — your typical fried naughtiness — always attract me. Priced at $6 each, I often indulge in mozzarella sticks, breaded cauliflower or mini corn dogs. That’s before I even start thinking about the main course.
As I mentioned, I thoroughly enjoy the burgers at Nowhere. They are fresh and juicy with the best buttery goodness-type of crust on the outside. The perfect size to fill you up but not overwhelm, they come in a variety of set ups. Personally, I’m fond of the standard cheeseburger, fully loaded, and the mushroom and Swiss. Wally, however, often looks for something out of the ordinary, which he found with both the Warren Burger and the Nolan Sandwich. The Warren is the bar’s un-loin (an unbreaded grilled pork tenderloin) with sautéed onions, mushrooms and peppers covered with mozzarella, while the Nolan is comprised of loose hamburger, sautéed onions, peppers and mushrooms as well as bacon, gold fever sauce and mozzarella on a sourdough roll. Yes, I do make him share a bite (or four) with me! Oh, and they serve a special item during Fundays: ribs! With prices between $6 and $9 on all their sandwiches and sides for less than $3, you can’t go wrong when choosing your meal at Nowhere.
On this particular Sunday, Comatose Catfish was the Funday entertainment, so once we finished our food, we grabbed a couple coo’ ones and headed back. I love this band! They are the perfect mix of country and classic rock; plus, their name reminds me of my dad (his nickname was Catfish). If one word summed up how I would describe them, it would be FUN!
After enjoying the rockin’ atmosphere for an hour or so, we decided it was time to make for the barn. As we left, we took a moment to walk up and down the street to check out all the bikes. That’s one of the great things about Funday: Every one is like a mini rally!
We took a pretty direct route out of town, heading nearly straight east on IL 167. Working our way across the sun-drenched farmland (IL 180 South, County Highway 24, County Highway 7), we finally turned south at IL 78, which took us all the way back to US 150 and the short stretch home. It was a great ride and another fabulous Funday. I would encourage anyone looking for a good lunchtime destination to check out Nowhere. The bar is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.; and Sunday, noon to 12 a.m. The kitchen is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, except on Sundays when it opens at noon.