During the long boring drive home from St Louis a couple of weeks ago we stopped to eat at a restaurant we had seen on a Route 66 special on Food Network, The Ariston Cafe.
We were tickled with everything about the place, and will definitely be back. From the moment you walk up to the entry you feel like you're entering a place of history. The original restaurant opened in 1924, and was moved to its current location in 1935 on historic Route 66. The restaurant is still family owned and operated and is much more than just a diner.
We arrived on a Sunday, early afternoon while Brunch was still going, and were pleasantly surprised to find that we could order off the menu or from the buffet style brunch, which is unusual. Most kitchens can only accommodate one or the other at a given time. The owners greeted us graciously and inquired whether we were travelling Route 66 when they saw my camera. The menu is extensive and features the usual diner options, as well as some unique offerings. We were pleasantly surprised to find that there is full bar service, which is not often the case at roadside diners. Tim selected one of the daily specials, a 14-oz Ribeye, which he ordered cooked rare, as he normally does. I chose one of the owners recommendations, Tamales, smothered with the house-made chili and loads of onions. Tim's meal came with the salad bar, which had some of the old standbys on it--great fun. His steak was cooked to perfection--really, truly rare, which is rare for a Ribeye. As you can see from the photos the grill marks were perfect too. He said it had a great grill flavor througout. He had ordered the vegetable which was a Greek style Green Beans and he loved those. The steak also came with sauteed mushrooms, which he normally doesn't eat but he said they too were cooked to perfection, not limp and overdone as is often the case. We have definitely found ourselves another regular stop on our trip to St Louis and recommend that you give it a try next time you're passing through Litchfield, IL.