The Local Flavors farm-to-table dinner series, now in its 10th season, will kick off this June, highlighting locally-owned restaurants in Springfield, Peoria, Champaign-Urbana, and Bloomington-Normal with a commitment to sourcing from central Illinois farmers. The series provides central Illinois residents with the opportunity to experience a farm-fresh meal featuring the true flavors of Illinois while also supporting local businesses, sustainable farming, and their communities.
Local Flavors events will take place on the third Thursday each month, June – October, and will rotate to a different restaurant each month. Chefs from participating restaurants will create a “Local Flavors Special” featuring seasonal produce and proteins sourced directly from central Illinois farmers. While all participating restaurants are sourcing local ingredients in some capacity, the “Local Flavors Special” will be made up of almost 100% locally-grown ingredients. Customers can stop by any participating restaurant on their scheduled date during their regular business hours to order the Local Flavors Special. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by contacting participating restaurants directly.
Dates and Locations for Local Flavors events are as follows:
June 15: American Harvest Eatery
July 20: Driftwood Cocktail and Eatery
Aug. 17: Augie’s Front Burner
Sept. 21: Engrained Brewing Company
Oct. 19: Maldaner’s Restaurant
June 15: Harvest Cafe in special partnership with Driftwood Cocktail and Eatery, Delavan
July 20: Harvest Cafe, Delavan
Aug. 17: Cyd’s Kitchen, Cafe + Catering
Sept. 21: Black Angus Cafe, Pekin
Oct. 19: TBD
June 15: Epiphany Farms Restaurant
July 20: BraiZe
Aug. 17: Old Bank
Sept. 21: Kelly’s Bakery and Cafe
Oct. 19: Destihl Restuarant and Brew Works
June 15: Big Grove Tavern
July 20: Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works
Aug. 17: V. Picasso
Sept. 21: Timpone’s Restaurant
Oct. 19: Bacaro
The Local Flavors series is organized by Illinois Stewardship Alliance in conjunction with local partners, including Slow Food Springfield, Local First Springfield, Downtown Springfield Inc., the Old Capitol Farmers Market, The Peoria Riverfront Market, the Peoria County Government, the University of Illinois Extension, the Urbana Market at the Square, the Land Connection, Visit Champaign County, the Downtown Bloomington Association, and the Ecology Action Center. These events are designed to support small-scale farmers, promote restaurants with a commitment to sustainable sourcing, and raise awareness for the importance of buying locally. According to a 2011 Ken Meter Study, if Central Illinois shoppers bought 15% of their food directly from their local farmers it would generate $639 million in new income annually for the region. Restaurants buying direct from local farmers stand to create an even larger impact.
“Their are lots of challenges for restaurants that source locally,” says Molly Gleason, Illinois Stewardship Alliance Communications Director, “The Local Flavors series gives us an opportunity to shine the light on local businesses that are making the extra effort to support area farmers and make their communities a vibrant, healthy place to live. Plus the food is delicious!”
Some restaurants may choose to offer more than one “Local Flavors Special,” offer their special for the entire week, or create a special tasting menu for the day of their event. Stay tuned for upcoming Local Flavors menus and descriptions!