Since the Chicago Bears moved their summer training camp to Bourbonnais in 2002, legions of fans have made the 50-mile trek down Interstate 57 to see the Monsters of the Midway gear up for the regular season at Olivet Nazarene University.
Once the journey is made and practice has concluded, fans are likely going to stick around and look for a restaurant to eat at. The question then becomes this: which ones are worth checking out?
To help answer that question, we’ve constructed a dining guide of sorts for fans, depending on what type of food they’re looking to pick up.
Fans looking for a quick bite to eat after practice can head in a number of different directions as they leave Olivet. For fans heading back north toward Chicago, there’s the ever-reliable Jaenicke’s hot dog stand, with their famous Red Hots and a variety of other foods like Italian beef and pulled pork sandwiches giving fans a wide variety of food to choose from.
If you’re willing to head south, Henry’s Hot Dogs, located on Broadway Street in Bradley,is a good bet, with their Danger Dog playing the role of artery-clogging masterpiece. The hot dog is wrapped in bacon, deep fried, and smothered with nacho cheese and onions, making it a nightmare for nutritionists and a dream come true for hungry football fans.
Located at Northfield Square Mall (just north of the I-57 exit), KanSai is a Japanese hibachi steakhouse where Bears fans can grab a quick bite to eat for lunch or enjoy a nice dinner with a showman’s touch as their dinner is prepared right in front of them in the evening.
For those looking for some sushi, then Koi Asian Bistro in Bourbonnais is the place to go. Located just a mile north of Olivet, the restaurant also serves Thai and Chinese food, but most customers simply rave about the fresh and delicious sushi on the menu.
For fans looking for a place close to the Olivet campus, Jimmy Jo’s has what you’re looking for. Located less than a mile away, there is a huge variety of food to choose from, including pulled pork tacos, the JJ’s Sampler Platter (which includes, pork, brisket, ribs, chicken, and a hot link) and a mixture of barbeque styles from all over the country.
Located a bit further away in Kankakee, Bull’s BBQ is also worth checking out. They have award-winning ribs and succulent pulled pork, but they also have a ton of great side dishes like barbecue spaghetti and fried pickles worth checking out.
One of the best places in the area for breakfast food is Yolks and Berries. Located in Bradley, this restaurant serves a wide variety of delicious breakfast dishes, including their stuffed biscuits and gravy. For those looking for a filling morning-time meal, this is the place.
For fans looking for great Mexican food, you’ll find it as long as you’re willing to travel a bit from the Olivet campus. La Siesta restaurant is a good choice, sitting south of the University on Kennedy Drive. The restaurant features a ton of seating, delicious food (the burritos are outstanding), and a host of different beers and margaritas to complete the dining experience.
Another place to check out is Martinez Tacos in downtown Kankakee. At lunch they have a tremendous buffet, and even if you’d prefer to order off the menu, the prices are incredibly reasonable, and the food is delicious.
There are a wide variety of chain restaurants to order pizza from (including a Rosati’s pizza), but there are a couple of good local choices as well, with Sammy’s Pizza leading the pack. Their new Bourbonnais location is situated near Olivet’s campus, and features a good variety of pizza and beer options to choose from.
Dale's Pizza, located in Bradley, is another good spot to check out, as they have a lunch buffet and, more importantly, games like Giant Jenga and foosball.
For those looking for a good drink after practice (after all, Olivet doesn’t allow alcoholic beverages on campus), there are a couple of places worth checking out. Burgers and Beer is a tremendous option in southern Kankakee, with an awesome selection of different burgers to chow down on and plenty of ice cold beer to wash it all down.
Oliver’s Bar and Grill is another good choice, located on Route 50 just east of campus. The Highway Man burger is a work of absolute perfection, featuring ham, cheddar cheese, an onion ring, and a fried egg on top, and they also have food like pizza and paninis to satisfy any appetite.
If you’re in town on a Saturday morning, you’d be well-advised to check out the Kankakee Farmer’s Market. Located on the corner of Schuyler and Dearborn in downtown Kankakee, this market features fresh produce and a crazy selection of food, including mini-doughnuts, breakfast burritos, and breakfast sandwiches of all kinds.