When was the last time you sat down at a restaurant and recognized where the ingredients on your plate came from? When you dine at a farm-to-table restaurant, you may recognize the farms and businesses involved in growing and processing the ingredients used in your dish or drink. This means as a consumer, you’re eating food that has been grown locally or produced locally, and is likely fresher (and in return more delicious) than ingredients that have been shipped from far and wide. 

    In this month’s blog post, we feature five unique farm-to-table restaurants to experience in Illinois, all of which provide immense pleasure in eating locally and supporting local business. Get to know Range Restaurant in Chicago, Bleuroot in West Dundee, Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery in Champaign, The Space in Champaign, and Cristaudo’s Cafe’, Bakery and Catering in Carbondale.

      Range Restaurant | Chicago

      Photo credit: Range Restaurant Instagram

      Range Restaurant in Chicago is known for its dedication to supporting local farms and sourcing seasonal ingredients. According to their website, they source 90-95% of the items on their plates (and in their glasses!) from midwest producers. Their goal with this dedication to local food is their way to provide a “meaningful contribution to Chicago’s community” and offer customers top-quality seasonal food with a focus on the midwest.

      Range’s menu is designed to offer a variety of options, calling out specific menu items that will appeal to individuals who maintain a vegetarian or gluten free diet. Loaded with produce, grass fed beef, multigrain breads, and delicious local cheeses, there is something for everyone at Range. The beautiful “Genevieve’s Platter” features a meat and cheese assortment with an extremely impressive selection of midwest ingredients, all credited to the farms from which they are sourced. It’s definitely a farm-to-table restaurant focused on building community in the midwest.

      Learn more about Range Restaurant and preview their menu (or better yet, stop in and sample the fare for yourself!) here.

      Bleuroot | West Dundee

      Photo credit: Bleuroot Instagram

      If fresh, local food is what you’re craving, then Bleuroot is the place for you. “Good food for the soul” is their motto, and that carries through to their food and drink menus. This popular West Dundee restaurant features a wide selection of starters, soups and salads, sandwiches, entrees, and desserts that appeal to vegetarians, gluten free, vegan, and more. And if the food wasn’t enough, their patio sets the tone on summer evenings. Follow their social media to learn about seasonal cocktails and live music on the patio… the chef’s kiss to this delicious farm-to-table restaurant.

      As we roll into the summer months, you don’t want to miss out on their seasonal favorite menu items like the Summer Fresh Ceviche, Nectarine Burrata Prosciutto Salad with a Nectarine Vinaigrette, and Burrata Crostini (fresh sliced nectarines, crisp arugula, pistachios & a balsamic reduction). And if you’re planning an event, Bleuroot offers private event spaces on their second and third floors, as well as full off-site catering services!

      Learn all about Bleuroot, their menu, and their special events in the greater Fox Valley area here.


      Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery | Champaign

      Photo credit: Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery website

      We highlighted Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery last month during our June dairy feature, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t share the scoop on recent developments at the farm that include new ownership and bringing back the ever-popular on-farm dinners.

      New owners Lauren and Jeffrey Brokish, who also own Central Illinois Bakehouse, Martinelli’s Market, and Pekara Bakery and Bistro, bought the farm earlier this year. Together they plan to continue the legacy of the farm founders, Leslie Cooperband and Wes Jarrell’s award-winning cheeses… and popular farm-to-table dinners.

      According to their website, the farm offers “multi-course, slow food meals that showcase the best of Midwest agriculture. Many of the vegetables, herbs and fruits served are grown organically on our farm or from neighboring farms; we also use our farm’s artisan, handcrafted cheeses and freshly baked bread.”

      Themes for each chef-led three or five course meal change throughout the month and season. The result is a delightful assortment of beautifully plated dishes that pay homage to the seasons, ingredients, farms, and local businesses in Illinois. 

      Learn more about Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery’s farm-to-table offerings here.

      The Space | Champaign

      Photo credit: The Space Facebook page

      The Space shares that they offer “life changing food, intentionally crafted,” and that is exactly what will happen when you visit their Champaign restaurant. 

      The co-founders Doug Hodge and Ian Nutting began their joinery as the Weird Meat Boyz, selling unique craft hot sauces at the Champaign-Urbana farmers market has since expanded to include a full restaurant and bar featuring locally sourced ingredients, seasonal menu items, a full bar of fun (and delicious) drinks, and a venue to enjoy music, comedy, trivia nights, and more. 

      From the Smashy McSmashFace burger to the bone marrow french fries, the menu is filled with mouthwatering dishes that incorporate ingredients from area farms and businesses. Two of which include Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery (goat cheese) and RegCakes gluten free bakery (gluten free buns). 

      You should certainly make plans to check out this unique space (pun intended) in downtown Champaign the next time you’re in the area. Be sure to follow their Facebook and Instagram to stay on top of their event schedule, featured menu items, and seasonal offerings.

      Cristaudo’s Cafe, Bakery and Catering | Carbondale

      Photo credit: Cristaudo’s Facebook page

      A Carbondale mainstay since the 1970s, Cristaudo’s Cafe, Bakery, and Catering is a “must visit” restaurant in southern Illinois. Their website shares that their goal is to “…fuel, support and entertain the community by offering a variety of products and services under one roof featuring continental cuisine and locally, regionally and sustainably produced items.” This goal is evidenced as soon as your walk into their downtown Carbondale location. The fresh cookies (don’t miss out on their very timely and intricately decorated iced sugar cookies, like these) and pastries catch your eye the moment you walk in, the bright tablecloths add a fun touch as you sit to wait for your delicious breakfast or lunch items, and the local wine, beer, and spirits are a great addition to brunch. 

      Cristaudo’s is also a full service caterer, which features their made from scratch platters, trays, and so much more! They take special care in offering customized options, source local ingredients, and take it seriously when you need to curate a specialized menu for clients who are gluten free or vegan.

      Speaking of vegan, the Red Beans and Rice is a delicious option, even for the meat eaters. And if you’re looking for a fresh take on breakfast, don’t pass up the local bison sausage and cheddar breakfast sandwich.

      Learn all about Cristaudo’s history, their menu, and their offerings on their website and social media.


      Get Listed with Buy Fresh Buy Local Illinois

        Are you a farm, farmers market, farm-to-table restaurant, or grocery store that sells local products purchased directly from local farms? Get listed in Illinois’ most trusted guide to local food. Your listing is absolutely free. Buy Fresh Buy Local Illinois is a local foods marketing project led by a coalition of organizations across the state working to promote local farms and food businesses like yours. Get listed and start reaching new customers today!

          This story is written by Natalie Kenny-Marquez on behalf of the Buy Fresh Buy Local Illinois Coalition.