I saw someone post a photo of a gigantic deep fried pork tenderloin at this place this fall and I knew if I was ever in the neighborhood, I’d check it out. Sure it’s an hour and a half drive from my parent’s house, but that’s about as close to “in the neighborhood” as I was likely to get to the 392-person town in central Illinois nowhere near an interstate.
I walked in and everyone looked at me. When they didn’t recognize me, they kept looking at me. I quickly ordered a PBR to set everyone at ease. Apparently, everyone that eats here knows each other.
Damn I miss small-town life. It’s tantalizingly simple and honest. Seriously, I miss these kinds of places. The inside is decorated with craft-y signs like “$5.00 charge for whining” and “you can’t fix stupid” and “Today’s menu: take it or leave it”. It’s also got that always-under-construction feel to it with some exposed studs on the wall.
They’ve got a huge patio on the side of the building for the warmer months. I bet that place gets hoppin’ in the summer.
The bartender/servers were really nice and helpful. They made sure I got what I needed to drink and a menu. The place was almost full, even at lunch on a Thursday. And a lot of those people were ordering pork tenderloins. The menu had quite a lot of things on it, many of which visit the deep fryer before getting put on a plate. There are also plenty of sandwiches and pizzas to make sure no one starves here.
The tenderloin didn’t actually take that long to cook, and I was really happy about that. The thing is much thicker than I expected. Yes, it’s really large, but I thought that would be because they pounded it thin and wide. It’s wide, but it’s actually got some pork in there to contend with. The flavor was actual pork and not just brown/fried. The guy working the fryer knew what he was doing, as well. No greasy flavor and not just overdone crunch. Well played, Mr. Fryer Guy. It comes with a regular sized bun (which my friend referred to as a Pork-T yarmulke), which means – based on the bun size – that this should be four sandwiches.
I promised my wife I wouldn’t try to eat the whole thing, and I didn’t. I basically ate three sandwiches by eating all the way around the bun. I’m sure I could have finished it, but I wouldn’t have fallen asleep on the country roads of Illinois. And also probably would have been in pain, but that’s beside the point. It was a great sandwich and I think the largest one I’ve ever tried to eat. The second closest would be the one in Indiana at Big Daddy’s.
If you’re ever driving near Peoria, Illinois, and have some time for a lunch excursion, it’s worth the drive. You’re not going to get fancy beer here, but you will get full, and you’ll be happy about it.
Spoonie’s Bar & Grill
103 3rd St.
London Mills, IL 61544