When the husband recently asked, “How about a Saturday night dinner ride to Gil’s?” I was all in. Not only do I really enjoy Gil’s, but the date night could double as this month’s article. (Don’t you love it when everything works out so well?!)
Now, Hanna City is only 20 minutes down the interstate, but where’s the fun in that? We instead opted to weave our way across rural northeast Peoria. The only flaw in our route: the Old English Faire at Wildlife Prairie Park. Thankfully, the traffic wasn’t bad that time of day, and we crept right through.
Turning onto Main Street in Hanna City, the line of cars vying for spots reminded me just how popular Gil’s Supper Club is.
Although Gil’s is famous for Fried Chicken, everything on the menu looked good to me. In fact, the massive listing of beef, seafood, chicken, pasta, sandwiches, salads and “country favorites” took me back to the great small-town Nebraska steakhouses of my youth — right down to the Prime Rib on weekends.
My mouth watered as I recalled the Prime I had on our last visit, but the Jumbo Shrimp really sounded perfect. He, on the other hand, wanted the renowned chicken and ordered the Fried Chicken Salad.
My side salad was fresh with a nice complement of toppings: cucumber, red onion, tomato and croutons. The bonus warm dinner rolls also helped satisfy my “special bread” craving.
Our dinners arrived, and I smiled when I noticed the corn fritters dusted with powdered sugar. I also spotted fries on my plate where mashed potatoes should have been. Almost immediately after mentioning it, a bowl of gravy-covered happiness appeared — that’s great service!
His salad looked amazing. The tenders were coated in house batter — light, crisp and just the right crunch over juicy white meat chicken. He rated it “5 Stars.”
My eight Jumbo Shrimp really hit the spot, especially with a touch of cocktail sauce for tang. The mashed potatoes and white gravy were creamy and the perfect accompaniment for my fried entrée. After sampling some fries, I envisioned myself dunking them in au jus on a future trip.
Stuffed, we boxed the fritters for a late-night snack and paid our bill. Back on the street, cars still were jockeying for spots. Wow, what a busy place!
I wish I could say the ride home was smooth, but I can’t. In fact, there was a bit of drama (no danger).
Everything was going well until we got to Kickapoo. As we rounded the corner onto 150, he noticed that the door on the cubbie in our right lower was open. He promptly found a place to stop and check the contents. Only one thing was missing — his glasses!
It was still early and plenty light, so we turned around and headed back to the restaurant. He drove, and I scanned the road. Halfway up the last hill to Wildlife Prairie Park, we spotted the black case along the road. After parking in a field access drive just a few yards up, I bounded joyously to the poor little road-rashed case and … IT WAS EMPTY!
Seriously. E. M. P. T. Y. While we scoured the area, a fellow rider stopped to check on us. (Don’t you love the camaraderie we all share?) We explained the situation, thanked him and resumed the hunt. No luck.
Dejected, we decided to go home and call the restaurant since he couldn’t remember putting his glasses in the case. Maybe he forgot them.
Nope, they weren’t there, so a new plan was born.
First thing in the morning, we took the car back to the restaurant thinking we may have lost them where we parked. No glasses. On to Plan C.
Searching the scene without the Old English Faire traffic made it easier to look closer to the road. I started thinking about the physics of that kind of air travel and how a bounce on the ground would have had to propel the glasses further ahead. My mathematically challenged mind labored on the problem until I realized we had company.
A Peoria County Sheriff had stopped to check on us. (Another perfectly timed reminder that good people really do exist.) He gave the story, and I returned to my puzzle, walking along the road. Oh. My…
I rushed to the glass glinting in the morning sun, and there, 10 feet from where we found the case, perfectly folded sitting on the outer edge of the white stripe was his glasses. Even better, there only was a minor scratch — on the frame.
Analyzing the scene, we deduced that the bin door was partially latched, so when we rolled over the rumble bars at the magic spot, it popped open, letting the case roll out before it hit the ground and ejected the glasses.
Amazed at our luck, we jumped back in the car and went home for breakfast. Although, we did consider the casino…
Note: Gil’s Supper Club is located at 12703 W. Farmington Road in Hanna City, Ill. Closed every Monday, they open at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and at 3 p.m. on Sunday.