Recipes are written in a language all their own, leading amateur cooks to confuse a pinch for a dash or forget that the chef's word for "water" is "salt." Trust a native speaker with today’s Groupon: for $7, you get $15 worth of comfort food at Eckert’s Restaurant in Belleville, Illinois.
Currently in its seventh generation of family ownership, Eckert’s Farm brims with verdant apple trees, all-ages activities, and hospitable down-home dining. The knowledgeable chefs at Eckert’s Belleville Country Restaurant utilize in-season ingredients instead of vegetables made of plastic or holograms. Traditional foodstuffs such as pressure-fried chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans ($9.50) and pork sausage served with sauerkraut ($9.50) share menu space with more upscale dishes including a goat-cheese-topped filet mignon with two sides ($18) and a winter blues salad of blended greens with grilled-chicken breast, dried cranberries, blue cheese, and glazed walnuts ($6.50).
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.
951 S Greenmount Rd.
Belleville, Illinois 62220
618-233-0513 x3Get Directions