Area eateries worth working up an appetite

Area eateries worth working up an appetite

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- If you're hungry for dinner, we've got just the story for you.
CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- If you're hungry for dinner, we've got just the story for you. Dozens of spots around Central Illinois are being featured as local "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives." WCIA-3's Anna Carrera finds out how those restaurants were picked.

Visitors' bureaus from six different parts of the state picked some of the best local restaurants they had. They hope people take a little detour to try something new and delicious.

Driving around can make you work up an appetite. But you don't have to go far off the highway to find something worth stopping for.

Even though it says "Gross" on the sign, customers say the atmosphere and food at Gross Burger just south of Danville are anything but.

"It's just a great burger," said Tom Baird, who is a Gross Burger customer.

"It's been open 31 years," said Sherry Gettinger, who is the manager at Gross Burger. 

But even after being around that long, Gettinger says they still see new faces.

"We probably get one or more customers a day who say this is their first time here," said Gettinger. 

A campaign spanning Central Illinois encourages people to stop off the highway and visit one of the local spots.

"We have a lot of people who come in from out of state," said Gettinger. "This is the first place they want to stop."

The name comes from the Food Network series, "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives." But its star hasn't stopped in here, yet.

"We were just joking about that with one of the girls," said Baird, "about having Guy Fieri come in. 'When's he going to show up?' Eventually."

But Guy has made an appearance at one other restaurant on the list.

"Of course, you want to make room," said Maize owner Armando Sandoval, "but it was packed, so he had to wait in line, like everybody else."

Maize has only been open about two years now, but the owner says word of mouth has made the spot even more popular.

"We've gotten a lot of people that will look us up on Yelp and they'll just stop by," said Sandoval.  

He hopes more will stop by as they head to their next destination.

Representatives from each visitors bureau picked between six and eight restaurants to feature in their area.

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