Baked With Love at What's Cookin' in Charleston, Illinois Baked With Love at What's Cookin' in Charleston, Illinois

Baked With Love at What’s Cookin’ in Charleston, Illinois

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What's Cookin in Charleston, Illinois

You might say the opening of What’s Cookin’ in Charleston started a beautiful relationship – in more ways than one. Owners Bob and Therese Kincade married soon after opening the restaurant together in 1980. Today, the restaurant serves as one of the community’s favorite places to eat.

“We love the business because it gives us a chance to make someone happy every day,” Bob Kincade says. “We enjoy our customers, and they like us, so it’s very satisfying.”

Many people start their day with the restaurant’s homestyle breakfast, which features omelets, buttermilk pancakes, French toast and biscuits and gravy.
“Our biscuits and gravy are very popular because we make them from scratch,” Kincade says.

The owners have been baking What’s Cookin’s homemade strawberry bread from a family recipe since they opened 33 years ago. Many customers order it warm, topped with butter or ice cream. The Kincades sell it by the slice or by the loaf in the restaurant and on their website.

“We sell quite a few loaves each week, and it’s especially popular around Christmastime,” Kincade says.

The restaurant bakes a variety of fresh muffins daily as well, including lemon poppyseed, blueberry, cream cheese, cranberry orange, chocolate chip and banana walnut.

What's Cookin' in Charleston, Illinois

Lunch and dinner specialties include homemade soups, nachos, salads, burgers, wraps, hot and cold sandwiches, and the highly popular quesadilla.

“Our quesadilla entree is really tasty,” Kincade says. “It’s a big flour tortilla stuffed with cheese, sautéed onions, green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and lettuce, topped with sour cream.”

Besides its menu, What’s Cookin’s warm, inviting atmosphere also draws people in.

“Our employees are like family,” Kincade says. “One woman has been working for us for 27 years. Many others have been with us 15 years or more. And one of our managers started working for us when she was a junior in high school.”

If You Go...

What’s Cookin’ is located at the corner of 7th and Madison streets, one block north of the historic town square. The address is 409 7th St. The restaurant is open Monday through Wednesday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Contact What’s Cookin’ at (217) 345-7427 or visit

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