In 1910, fourth-generation German immigrant Alvin O. Eckert set up a small produce stand on a roadside in Belleville, Illinois. More than 100 years later, that roadside stand has flourished into the expansive Belleville plot of Eckert's Farm: a pastoral acreage where orchards surround a country-style restaurant, bakery, and handmade-custard shop. The Eckert family's sixth and seventh generations ensure this farm remains a true family affair. Sixth-generation member Jim Eckert is the chief horticulturist, and his cousin-once-removed, Chris, oversees retail operations and the sale of the farm's homegrown produce and spare scarecrow parts. Chris's sister Jill helms the food program, and his wife Angie oversees the Country Store and colorful Garden Center.
Throughout the year, visitors arrive on the Belleville farm's grounds for a range of seasonal activities, including peach-, apple-, and pumpkin-picking. During the summer, a concert series features live outdoor music on Friday and Saturday nights, and in the fall, staff lead bonfires and evening hayrides through the orchards. Inside the farm building, instructors teach cooking classes for adults and children, as well as a wine-pairing class.
Family-friendly activities also abound at the Eckert family's other two farms. The Grafton farm, where public apple-picking began in 1964, offers daily animal feeding and miniature golf. The seasonal Millstadt farm is home to a workshop, haunted hayrides, and an array of warm-weather children's attractions—including a 70-foot underground slide.
Founded in 1954 by James McLamore and David Edgerton, Burger King rapidly expanded from humble beginnings as a lone burger joint to more than 12,400 locations across 79 countries today, making it the second-largest fast-food-hamburger chain in the world. Its signature burger—the Whopper sandwich—consists of flame-broiled, quarter-pound beef patties crowned with a miniature fedora and a fully customizable array of toppings such as tomatoes, onions, and dill pickles. Focused on continual improvement, the chain recently reinvented the fries that accompany each value meal, outfitting the spud slices with a thicker cut of potato for a fluffier texture on the inside and crispier golden-brown exterior. A spread of decadent desserts including dutch apple pie and Hershey pie keeps sweet teeth from elongating into fangs, and made-to-order breakfast sandwiches clasp eggs, american cheese, and bacon, sausage, or ham between two halves of a flaky croissant to round out the speedy menu.
Inside the St. Louis Downtown Airport, travelers excitedly bustle about on their way to distant destinations or emerge from vacations rested and ready to return home. The constant stream of action is all part of the experience for diners at Crusoe’s on the Runway, which combines the spectacle of air travel with hearty American meals. Whether they’re traveling or just stopping by for a bite, diners fill their bellies as they overlook two of the three runways from the airport’s east ramp. St. Louis–style pizza, steaks, and pastas satiate hunger pangs, along with comfort food such as Mom’s meatloaf and country-fried steak. As they watch Airbus A320 jetliners and lightweight Boeing 757 aircrafts launch into the sky and gently touch down on the runway from their tables, guests can hold up score cards to judge the pilots’ form.
Patrons pass platters full of pizza, pasta, and other provisions at this intimate Italian-American eatery, where salads and spaghettis are served fresh and sharing is encouraged. Start off supper by sipping on Marco's freshly made soups ($2.95 for a cup, $3.50 for a bowl) or munching on its original seed salad, tossed with sesame and poppy seeds, crunchy chow-mein noodles, and sprinkled with house-made dressing ($6.95 for regular).
Combining classic pub grub, thirst-quenching drinks, and spirit-elevating entertainment, Shenanigan's has been a staple of daytime and nighttime diversion for more than 20 years. Perfect for a night out with friends or making new buddies by feeding the first group that will talk to you, today's deal gets customers a gargantuan spread of delectable bar fare. The three 16-inch pizzas come with up to two toppings each, including standards such as pepperoni and mushrooms, as well as less common pie-packers such as canadian bacon and pineapple slices. The 50 wings can be slathered in wide array of sauces, including hot 'n' spicy buffalo sauce, sweet thai chili sauce, and honey barbecue, and come with celery and a choice of ranch or blue-cheese dressing. Those looking to bulk up their arsenal of hunger destroyers can load up on toasted ravioli, a hearty heaping of 50 savory squares outfitted in pasta armor and ready for marinara dunk contests.
For Brandy Hitch, being a licensed massage therapist is a dream come true. She sees attending The Body Therapy School of Massage as a turning point in her life and the start of a career focused on helping and healing others. Armed with kneading know-how and inspiration from her teachers and colleagues, Brandy creates a serene environment for her clients where they can completely unwind like a yo-yo in the hands of an amateur. She treats them with a wide range of healing modalities ranging from foot scrubs and deep-tissue massages to trigger-point therapy. Appointments are available Monday and Wednesday from 8 a.m.—9 p.m.; Tuesday from 8 a.m.—3 p.m.; Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m.—1:30 p.m.; Saturday from 6 p.m.—8 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m.—8 p.m.