Before heading for Springfield a couple weeks ago, I asked a friend at work to tell me which restaurant we should go to for the quintessential Springfield eating experience. Jeff (from work) suggested Charlie Parker’s, a place known for its horseshoes which is a “delicacy” found in Central Illinois and nowhere else (so I’ve been told.) Jeff grew up in Springfield and his family still lives there, so I figured he would be the one in the know.
If Jeff hadn’t told us about it, we never would’ve found it. Tucked away on an off-the-main-road, primarily industrial side street, even if we had found it, we probably wouldn’t have stopped. The restaurant is in an old quonset hut (originally an airplane hanger in World War II) and that day the parking lot was mostly mud.
We weren’t that hungry, so we didn’t get the horseshoe (or even one of the pony shoes), but the grilled cheese sandwich I did get was absolutely delicious – as were the sandwiches and food of everyone else in the family.
The horseshoe, by the way, is two pieces of toast, meat (ham, bacon, chicken, hamburger, fish, etc.) on top of the toast, eggs on top of the meat, then cheese sauce (or sausage gravy or both) on top of that, and then a ton of french fries or hash browns on top of all of it. Their pancakes are huge – if you eat four of them, they’ll pay for your meal, but no one has ever done it. They are sixteen inches in diameter and hang off the edge of a pizza pan.