Get Your Fill at Bishop Hill Restaurants
Linda Spring and Crystal Dennis have been friends for as long as they can remember, so they considered the decision to go into business together in 1993 a no-brainer. They co-own the Filling Station, one of Bishop Hill’s iconic eateries that serves up (as the sign says) “darn good” sandwiches, homemade pie and daily specials.
“Customers love our Swedish pancakes we serve for breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays. They are crepe-like,” Spring says. “We’re also known for our burgers, which we make fresh by hand – never frozen. And our hand-pounded tenderloins are pretty popular.”
The cozy hometown eatery seats only 35 people and often has a wait. Its clientele includes both regulars and tourists.
“We serve a lot of local farmers and community people. We have some guys who eat here three times a day,” Spring says. “It’s just a down-home, simple place. Our motto is ‘Great food, questionable service.’ ”
A cheeky sign on the wall reads, “Welcome To The ‘Get It Yourself’ Cafe.”
Spring says the best part about running the longtime restaurant is interacting with customers.
“We get a lot of good people in here, and we like to have fun,” she says.
On Jan. 1 every year, the Filling Station tips its hat to Bishop Hill’s Swedish heritage by hosting a popular Swedish Smorgasbord with lots of Swedish-inspired dishes. They also host a Sweetheart Dinner on Feb. 14.
The Filling Station opens every day for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday for breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. and Friday evenings for dinner from 5 to 8 p.m. The Friday night special typically includes your choice of fish (catfish, walleye or tilapia) or one other meat with all the fixings. For more information, call (309) 927-3355.
In the mood for a sweet treat? Stop in the Bishop Hill Bakery & Eatery, another landmark restaurant in Bishop Hill. Indulge in a fresh-baked cinnamon roll, a slice of coconut cream pie piled high with meringue or a Swedish Tea Ring (coffeecake). For lunch, try the daily specials, ranging from Swedish meatballs to chicken pot pie. Homemade soups and sandwiches round out the menu. Take home a loaf of Swedish Rye bread sweetened with honey and molasses as a souvenir.
Bishop Hill Bakery & Eatery opens Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call (309) 927-3042 for winter hours, or visit bishophillbakery.com.