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Burgers & Beer Podcast #1 – Haynes’ on Main in Mackinaw Illinois

Welcome to Episode one of the Tazewell County Beer and Burgers Podcast with Groucho.  We take our movable feast to Mackinaw Illinois for episode one.  Haynes’ on Main has been a benchmark for quality pub fare with great craft beer since they opened.  It was an easy decision to start with Haynes.

First off… thanks for tuning in.  This is a huge departure from a normal TBR show.  We hope you enjoy this project and if you have any thoughts or want to make some recommendations.  By all means…  Email us at groucho@thebeerreport.com or hit me on most socials @thebeerreport

The last episode and introduction podcast had me sitting with a friend of the show, Kevin, at the Blacktop Tavern.  We still have Blacktop on our list as a show destination.  Don’t think I have forgotten.  Also…  I was reminded today that the Burger Barge in East Peoria has amazing burgers and it is definitely in Tazewell County.   So, we will probably fit them into a show as well. 

Today was a cool, Fall “feeling” day.  It felt appropriate to head out to the eastern edge of the county for a scenic drive.  It was easy weather to have the windows down and take a breath of country air.  All the while, driving roads that dissect nearly mature corn and bean fields add to the feeling that I am getting a little remote.  Every field looks like it’s just days away from turning brown for harvest.  We are close for Fall.

Mackinaw Illinois sits on Route 9 between Bloomington and Pekin.  It’s just 10 minutes away from Interstate 155 and is a fairly easy drive for most.    12 minutes from Pekin.  Probably 20 minutes from Bloomington/Normal.  These are the kind of roads that you can travel 7 miles in 7 minutes.  Straight lines that have 2 directions…  North to South or East to West.  It’s “grid life” before the kids came up with their version of “grid life”.  

Mackinaw is one of the few communities in Tazewell county that could be called a river town.  Because of this, its become synonymous with local river culture.  The Mackinaw River State Fish and Wildlife Area is nearby and allows for easy access to the recreational waterway for thousands of rabid canoe and kayaking fans.  There is even canoe rental available in the area for those wanting to check it out without the ownership commitment.

The main street is small, even by small-town standards.  You could call it petite.  Nicely maintained space and all buildings appear to be occupied.  A rarity in this day and age of rural flight.  The Library, Post Office, and professional services are located in the heart of the town, along with an IGA grocery.  There is something funny about seeing buildings with the year 1869 stamped on their crown with a Yoga studio located at the street level.  Makes you wonder what the founders of the town would think if they could stroll down this street today.  

Haynes’, sitting smack dab in the middle of town, is part of that downtown space.  Haynes’ adds to the clean and appealing look of the downtown with its nicely renovated exterior.  

The menu is full of fresh-made food…  But we don’t have time for that.  We are here for a burger and beer.  What’s the burger menu like?

Classic Burger

The options:

  • Single Smash ¼ lb with cheese for 9.5
  • Double 11.50
  • Turkey Burger
  • Western with bbq and onion rings
  • Big Cheif (named after the high school mascot) jalapenos, pepper, and onions
  • Caprese burger with fresh moz, Roma tomatoes, and basil

I ordered the Classic burger  Single with American cheese, lettuce, pickle, tomato, and 1000 island dressing.  I am not a 1000 island fan…  But in lieu of a “house burger,” I went with the classic.

While I was waiting for my food, I ordered up a Destihl Hazy IPA.  Haynes’ has 4 drafts at the bar and two of them are from a local brewery in Bloomington/Normal, Destihl.  We have been big proponents of Destihl over the years and were thrilled to be at the restaurant during its rollout.  We even had an exclusive tasting session with founder Matt Pott’s during those early days.  I digress.

Destihl hazy IPA was a nice and crisp beer.  It was almost tangy like it had a hint of lemon.  This beer would be perfect outside on a hot day!  It was pretty good today as well.  

The burger was assembled and cooked in front of me as I sat at the bar.  I like that.  The smash burger is a healthy portion.  The 1000 island dressing that keeps grabbing all my attention was applied liberally… But somehow stuck to the burger.  I didn’t leave any on my shorts or shirt when I left!  The burger was covered with fresh lettuce and tomatoes.  Everything about this burger was tasty and delicious.  The burger is from a farm in Springfield Illinois and it tasted fresh and crispy on the edges from the griddle.

I could have picked a standard side like fries or something.  But the bartender said they had a fresh pea salad or watermelon salad with cucumber as two seasonal options.  I knew my friend Bryan Harland had a hand in these 2 offerings.  I was all over the Watermellon salad.  It was a good choice…  Like the Classic Burger… It was filled with freshness and tasted like I was eating out of the garden.  

All and all…  Eating at Hayne’s was top notch and the food could not have been better.  Hayne’s is definitely a top 5 contender for best pub food in Tazewell County.  I may have to come up with a ranking system. for future episodes.

Oh, one thing I would say, and I said this to Bryan on my visit…  Bring back those specials!  We had some amazing burgers at Haynes years ago when they did a monthly burger special.  The PBJ BLT was pretty darn good.  My favorite was the Ghost Burger.  You guessed it…  Ghost pepper cheese with spicy mustard.  It was hot!

Want to be on a show?  I would love to have a convo about a local restaurant or bar with a fan of the establishment.  Email, or message us on the socials @thebeerreport

Classic Burger






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