The Main Hangar
The owners of The Main Hangar are Americans of Italian descent and that’s the best way to encapsulate the restaurant that they run – Italian, with American influences. It gets its name from its location next to the Decatur airport, but after eating at the Main Hangar, you certainly won’t want to leave anytime soon. The portions are generous, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that it’s an Italian restaurant in the middle of the American heartland. There are plenty of enticing pasta dishes to choose from, but if you’re looking for something a little more substantial, try any one of their fried fish options which are famously delicious.
Main Hangar Restaurant, 910 S Airport Rd, Decatur, IL, USA, +1 217 421 7452
Paco’s Sol Bistro
Sol means sun in Spanish, and it’s a perfect name for this cheerful spot. Whether you want to celebrate a promotion, an engagement, or just Tuesday, Paco’s Sol Bistro is a great place to come. They’re constantly enlisting live entertainment to spice up the night and the menu itself is no less spicy. They’ve got a full range or sandwiches, burgers, personal pizzas, and other classic American pub food, but all with a little Southwestern kick. Take the Mexi Mac, for example. It’s macaroni and cheese, but with a couple of additions – in this case, taco meat, pico de gallo, black beans, and pepper jack cheese. It can get pretty cold in Decatur during those long winters, but it’s always sunny at Paco’s Sol Bistro.
Paco’s Sol Bistro, 237 N Main St, Decatur, IL, USA, +1 217 330 6483
The Beach House
Good seafood in the middle of Illinois might seem a little hard to come by at times, but not in Decatur with The Beach House around. With their location right on the shores of Lake Decatur, you might even feel the seaside spirit. The Beach House has fresh fish shipped in every day, so you know that it’s fresh. Their menu changes based on availability, but you can count on it to have great surf n’ turf options to suit anyone’s tastes. You might need some help choosing a fine wine to go with your fish or steak, and for that you can have a look at the wine list, which has been nationally recognized by Restaurant Hospitality Magazine as being one of the best in the country.
The Beach House, 2301 E Lake Shore Dr, Decatur, IL, USA, +1 217 422 7202
Head over to Mi Pueblito for a good-sized helping of the best Tex-Mex food in the city. This is a favorite with the students of Millikin University, which tells you right away that it’s great value. The first thing that will appear on your table is the chips and dip, of course, and from there on out you have the choice of all the typical Mexican offerings. Try the Enchiladas Verde for some good spiciness, or any one of the fajita quesadillas. Their cocktail specials, which change every day, are also one of their big draws. Don’t worry, though – like any good Mexican place, they have margaritas available all the time.
Before we get into what Bizou has for you to enjoy, we need to recognize that their driving philosophy is farm-to-table. Whenever possible, the food you’re eating will have come from a local producer, and it will definitely be fresh. Their list of entrees – which includes a specifically vegan section – is full of exciting dishes and flavors. For a real experience, try the TurDucHen, which, for the uninitiated, is turkey stuffed with duck stuffed with chicken. For a little mid-week pick me up, you can check out their Tapas Tuesdays, which features a mixture of Spanish favorites and their own tasty creations.
Bizou, 259 N Main St, Decatur, IL, USA,
The Blue Spoon at Oakwood
You know it’s going to be a good day when you eat breakfast out – and Blue Spoon is a fantastic place to do just that. It’s small, but even if you have to wait, it’ll be worth it. Their food is always fresh, never processed and it always feels good to go to a locally owned small business over a chain restaurant. The interior is quirkily cozy, with bare bricks and colorfully painted frames acting as accents to the dark brown furniture. This place will never run out of bacon and eggs, so come hungry and load up your plate with everything your heart desires to get your day off to a great start.
Blue Spoon, 10 S Oakland St, Decatur, IL, USA, +1 217 422 1111
Fuji Japanese Steakhouse
Whatever Japanese favorite you’re looking for, Fuji has it. Gyoza for an appetizer? Of course. A full variety of sushi rolls? Yes, and then some. Even besides sushi, they have some great seafood choices, like oysters on the half shell or deep-sea scallops. The main course is the most exciting part however, because you can get something grilled right in front of you on the hibachi – watch out for flying shrimp. If that’s not your style, though, they have steaming bowls of noodle soup and enough tempura and teriyaki dishes to satisfy anyone. Come and enjoy the zen atmosphere and don’t forget the green tea ice cream for dessert.
Fuji Japanese Steakhouse, 4292 N Prospect Dr, Decatur, IL, USA,
Wildflour Artisanal Bakery and Cafe
Building upon the work of some friends who had opened a wholesale bakery specializing in artisan bread of all shapes and sizes, the owners of Wildflour opened up their bakery and café as a way of giving visitors the chance to buy both the bread and their signature delicious cooking. They’re open for breakfast and lunch, with the menus in a constant state of change, so it’s worth visiting again and again. They also make custom-order cakes if you have something to celebrate, and you get to choose each element of it. Once you’ve eaten, you can check out the Root Cellar, the adjoining antique shop. With the old world bread options, the antiques, and their location in a historic building downtown, you might feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.
Wild Artisanal Bakery & Café, 256 W Main St, Decatur, IL, USA, +1 217 422 3300
Donnie’s Homespun Pizza
Every college town needs a place like Donnie’s Homespun Pizza. Their pizzas, which come in both deep-dish and thin crust varieties, have exciting toppings that will make your choice very difficult and that’s not even factoring in their delicious sandwiches and pita wraps. They also have a great selection of craft beers to go along with your meal, and if you come by on Wednesday, you can check out the local music scene with the open mic night. And even if you’re just looking for something light, Donnie’s Homespun has you covered there with some tasty and healthy smoothies. This laid-back joint is perfect for any night of the week.
Donnie’s Homespun Pizza, 126 S Oakland St, Decatur, IL, USA, +1 217 424 4344
By Lani Seelinger