January 12, 2010
Over the years I've had several favorite places for lunch during the work week.
When I worked for the Illinois Department of Agriculture my favorite lunch location was a hamburger stand located at the intersection of North Grand West and North 2nd Street. I no longer remember the name, and the restaurant itself is long gone. They had fabulous burgers and fries and an outstanding breakfast menu. It was family owned and when the parents wanted to retire none of their children wanted to keep the establishment going.
Working downtown brought me close to a number of fine eateries. The Feed Store had good sandwiches and great soups, however I'd have to say it was my second favorite lunch location. First would have to be the seasonal hot dog and bratwurst stands that you could find on the Old Capital Plaza in the warmer months. There were two regulars there in the late 1980s and early 1990s, one in particular had very good bratwurst. I believe he soaked them in beer before grilling them. He recognized regular customers and occasionally treated us to a free lunch.
Living in the large cosmopolitan area of Portland OR and Vancouver WA exposed me to lots of very good Asian restaurants, including my favorite, Pho Van, a Vietnamese restaurant specializing in beef noodle soup. While the soup was good my favorite lunch there was grilled lemon grass chicken with a side of spring rolls. The spring rolls were delicate and delicious while the chicken was hot and spicy.
My favorite lunch place in Charleston was a tiny storefront diner with the best grilled cheese on marbled rye around. He had pretty good burgers too, but I usually when to Jack's for the grilled cheese. Second favorite lunch would have to be Bangers and Mash at the Irish pub. Somehow they were able to char the ends of the sausage while only cooking the middles. Excellent stuff.
After returning to central Illinois in 2000 to work for my self I settled into a weekly chili routine. Joe Rogers's "The Den" Chili was my favorite lunch stop every Tuesday. Sometimes on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays too.
Living in a large metropolitan area again provided tons of choices, but I'd have to say that my favorite lunch spot was Mama's Chinese Buffet in Raytown. Cheap, plain, and excellent food. Even after switching to a new employer I'd make the 20 minute drive a couple times a month to eat there.
Moving to Manhattan Kansas in January 2009 changed my entire lunch approach for the better. I now eat nearly all my lunches at home. It's a mere 8 minute commute most days so I take an hour and relax at home with leftovers or a sandwich and, best of all, time with Sibylle.
NB: This posting languished in my drafts folder for ten months. Usually a draft that idles for more than a few days never sees the light of day. This explains why it was published in January 2010 with a permanent link date of March 2009.