Restaurant Review: Breakfast at the Harvest Cafe, Delavan
If you live in the Peoria are and haven’t heard of the Harvest Cafe yet, I don’t know where you’ve been hiding. Open since 2010, the Harvest Cafe has made a name for itself as much for its location as its food. Being in “downtown” Delavan, it is perhaps the definition of a destination restaurant; there’s not much else to do in Delavan (although it looks like a brew pub is getting ready to open on the corner), and while there are some nature areas and Dickson Mounds in the general vicinity, the Harvest Cafe is definitely the reason you’ll find yourself in Delavan.
We had tried to go to Harvest Cafe several times, but each time events interrupted and we had to cancel. Then finally, last fall we managed to all get down there for breakfast one weekend, and it was delicious. With the Peoria Ballet on spring break this last week, we found ourselves with another free Saturday morning, and decided to give ourselves another treat.
Delavan is a 30-40 minute drive south of Peoria, on the other side of the river. It’s not a bad drive, parts of it are actually scenic, although it was quite foggy when we started out. We got started a little later than we wanted, and were all quite hungry when we arrived about 9:00.
The restaurant was pretty empty on a Saturday morning, so we were seated right away and were able to take some pictures to show you the ambiance. It’s a beautiful restaurant, with attention clearly paid to all the details. Joel is a particular fan of the paintings, while Cecile and I admire the bar and hope to test it out some day.
But when it comes down to it, you come for the food. The Harvest Cafe is a farm-to-table restaurant, which means that most or all of the food is from local sources; they even list their suppliers on the menu and their website.
Psst, Harvest Cafe, your website needs a little work. Contact me, I do good work at reasonable rates, and even for barter. That’s right, I’ll work for food.
This also means their menu varies by season, although I suspect that’s more of an issue for lunch and dinner than with breakfast. We all started with coffee (decaf for Joel) and then began the difficult process of picking something from the menu. While the menu isn’t extensive, everything sounds delicious.
Joel decided right away, going for The Cornelius, a standard two eggs, potatoes, meat and toast, which is his standard breakfast choice; Cecile was torn between Eggs Benedict and corned beef hash, her two standard breakfast order; and I had to choose between, well, just about everything. Cecile went for the corned beef hash and I chose the Chorizo Hash, drawn by the house made chorizo and ancho lime hollandaise.
Well, as we suspected, it was all fabulous, again. The corned beef hash had plenty of large chunks of corned beef while the chorizo was delicious and the ancho lime hollandaise, while not really tasting of ancho, had a delicious lime/hollandaise flavor. Joel tore through his meal in short order, and concluded that only Broad Branch Farm’s bacon is better than Harvest Cafe’s; it’s hard to argue with that, the Poeppel’s bacon is the best I’ve ever had. And there was nothing special about his toast, but that’s no big deal. Those quibbles aside, our meals were delicious, we had no need for lunch, or even dinner really, and can’t wait to go back again.
If you haven’t been to the Harvest Cafe yet, what are you waiting for? It’s a true gem in central Illinois, and well worth the drive. You can include a trip to Dickson Mounds or the Emiquon Preserve and make a whole or half day of it. The food is delicious, regardless of its source. That this is a farm-to-table restaurant, supporting small-scale, local farmers in the middle of the corn/soybean monoculture is the icing on the cake.
Hmm, I wonder if they have cake.