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    Posted November 26, 2012 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    100 places to eat like a local

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    The Shanty - a must for '100 local eats'


    Alright, I know I’m a little late to the party in submitting this iReport but I wanted to at least try to do justice to my favorite local place to eat, the Shanty in Wadsworth, Illinois.  I had a bit of, o k a lot of, writer’s block. I honestly didn’t know where to even begin or how to include everything good about the Shanty!

    The first thing a guest is likely to notice is the hospitality. Guests are greeted like good friends and the service is always friendly, whether you’re a regular customer, a not-so-regular customer or a traveler passing through. When I met with the owner, Dimitri, to discuss submitting an iReport, not only did he readily provide information, but also some of the Shanty’s famous food. It was at this time that I also conned him into letting me get the photos I’ve submitted. All this hospitality is dished up in a cozy, almost log cabin-like environment.

    Oh, the food? That is the main attraction after all. One reason the food is so good is Dimitri’s focus on quality ingredients, olive oil being a perfect example. Dissatisfied with the quality of olive oil he could get, he started his own brand. Lonely Olive Tree, named for the single olive tree left in the grove after an historic frost. Local and organic suppliers are also used for ingredients such as eggs, cheese and vegetables.

    The focus on quality ingredients leads to food which is well-known both locally and on a larger scale. Among others, the Shanty has drawn the attention of Guy Fieri who visited for an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. One of the dishes featured on that show, Whiskey Shrimp, is a favorite appetizer. The shrimp is delicious and the bread it’s on is a perfect means for serving it; crunchy yet tender. One of my favorite main dishes would be their Tequila Orange Salmon which is also rather famous.

    My advice if you’re going to the Shanty is to arrive early if you don’t have a reservation; it’s popular and gets crowded early. If you have to wait, though, the wait will be worth it! Not only is the Shanty friendly, not only does it have fantastic (famously so) food, but the restaurant is a good neighbor by participating in and hosting numerous charitable events.

    All these are the reasons why no list of ‘local eats’ would be complete without the Shanty! I’d expect that many, many others agree and hope they comment!

    This iReport is part of an assignment that we created with Travel + Leisure:  100 places to eat like a local
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