The Alli's Family Restaurant building has been refilling tanks along Historic Route 66 for 80 years. It began as a gas station, but then took on the mantle of restaurant and has never looked back or at the sun. The eatery's Facebook page contains sneak peeks from the full menu and includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. Chicken-fried chicken and its menu companions are hearty enough to sustain patrons on road trips, whether their road trips are from Chicago to LA or the result of a stick in the middle of the highway.
The chefs at Cartoons Oyster Bar & Grill create an eclectic, seafood-centric menu of sandwiches, pastas, and ocean-caught specialties. Entrees include cajun gumbo or jambalaya and sample seafood platters are loaded with cod fillets, scallops, fried shrimp, and clam strips. On the weekends, local bands take to the bar's stage to belt out original songs and read their middle-school diaries aloud.
There's no buffet at Tokyo Grill, a pan-Asian eatery that opened late in the summer of 2013. That's a good thing for diners; it means that instead of having to pick over trays of slowly souring food, patrons can enjoy delicacies made fresh to order. Meals range from general tso's chicken to sushi and hibachi cuisine. Most entrees are served with fried or steamed rice and bowls of hot soup.
The chefs at Asia Express know their way around the wok as well as the soup pot, serving up stir-fried Chinese specialties and simmered Vietnamese soups. Fried rice accompanies dishes such as sesame chicken and spicy kung pao chicken, while bean sprouts, basil, and lime garnish steaming bowls of pho.
Rice & Roll serves traditional Japanese sushi rolls, teriyaki dishes, and fried-rice entrees. Diners looking for a traditional experience can pair a lobster roll with a dragon roll, cutting the spicy tuna and eel with the more subtle flavors of lobster and crab. Those looking for something a little different may opt for specialty rolls like the King of the Castle with shrimp tempura, cream cheese, and spicy crab, or the Spicy Yum Yum with deep-fried shredded crab and chili sauce. Chicken, shrimp, beef, and salmon bento boxes offer miniature meals, complete with teriyaki meats, shrimp and vegetable tempura, california rolls, and spring rolls.
The cooks at Maru Sushi & Grill prepare pan-Asian feasts such as Springfield-style cashew chicken, drawing from the cuisine of Japan, China, Thailand, and beyond. Diners clasp sushi rolls loaded with crab, lobster, and mango, which, according to News-Leader.com, are served on a "cast-iron plate that sits atop flames." The sushi and sashimi at Maru is present with beautiful combinations of texture and design. Patrons wash down meals with a selection of drinks that includes Japanese beers, sake, and soju.