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“Not As Good As It Use To Be” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Ariston Cafe

Ariston Cafe
413 N Old Route 66, Litchfield, IL 62056
(217) 324-2023
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Ranked #1 of 32 Restaurants in Litchfield
Cuisines: Coffee Shop, Diner
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Large groups, Doing business, Local cuisine, Entertaining clients, Dining on a budget
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Dessert
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
66 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Not As Good As It Use To Be”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2013

I use to love Ariston Café. The food was always very good. I was pretty disappointed last night when we went there to eat. My wife had the fried chicken and she said it was ok, but I had the pork chops and had to send them back because they were not done enough for pork. When I did get them back, they really didn't have much of a taste to them. Just kind of bland. Their salad bar needs updated. It's a small salad bar and pretty generic. The older gentleman who greeted us when we walked in gave the impression that he could care less if we were there or not. The young lady who waited on our table was very friendly and did a good job keeping an eye on our table. She had a pleasant smile each time she came to the table and SHE made us feel welcome. The only thing negative I could say about her was that when she told us what all the specials were, she didn't mention the price. Probably because the entire menu is over priced for this restaurant. I don't mind paying for really good food in a nice restaurant, but a place like Ariston Café in my opinion doesn't rate as one of these restaurant's anymore. It will be a long time before I go back there again. If I go back at all.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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147 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Great place!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2013 via mobile

This is a great place to eat!! We have eaten here many times and have tried different things and it has always been great food!! The desserts are to die for!! Service is also very good!! Excellent soup and salad bar.

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Louis
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Classic Americana on old Route 66”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013

Definitely worth a trip. The food was great and the service was quick. It has a history as well being located on old Route 66 and the National Register of Historic Places.

Nice atmosphere inside. The Ariston has a better selection than we expected of food and drinks all with white tablecloths. Everything from burgers to many nice entrée selections. Would definitely recommend as a good way to unwind if passing through LItchfield.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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washington, DC
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Worth A Special Trip”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2013

The Ariston Café has been around a long time. In the past it was one of many places to eat along Route in Illinois, places that were a long link of good food and/or downhome service.

Today not many of those places remain. Route 66 in Illinois hits its peak north of here, for me at least, around the old Dixie and pushes down to Litchfield and surrounding areas. The Ariston sits right in the sweet spot of the route in the state.

Ariston has been family owned forever. It's also a local 'go to' place to eat (sort of like the Dixie was), the kind of place which fills up after church, football games, proms and other local events so common across the country in small towns. Ariston must be doing something right because it really is a popular place with locals and Route 66 fans.

The food here is very good. Rather unexpected here in the middle of the endless central Illinois cornfields and soybean farms. The service is also the best around.

One of my favorite trips when we lived in central Illinois was to pick up the route just north of the Dixie and drive it down to Litchfield. Starting at Funks Grove, hitting the Dixie then running the route through a stream of small towns, farms and Route 66 landmarks. The Cozy Dog, etc. The drive goes about 125 miles, or about 3-4 hours with a slow pace. Ending up in Litchfield at the Ariston can make the trip a very special one.

The Ariston has several Greek specialties on the their menu, reflecting the ethnic heritage of its owners. I'd recommend checking the menu on their website at ariston-cafe.com for regular items and specials in season. They also have a nice collection of souvenirs items you can buy. My favorite are the Ariston Café pint glasses. Other items are also neat and fair priced.

The service here is tops. A nice mix of family, seasoned pros and locals staff it. They are well trained, something that comes with solid, long standing ownership, and can explain anything on the menu in detail. If you're a Route 66 buff, and its not too busy, try to talk to one of the senior staff or the owners for a few stories about the old days. Hard to believe but at one time the Ariston was a destination restaurant, with folks driving down from Springfield or up from the St. Louis area to eat on a special weekend day trip. Many would stay over in one of the towns motels for a stress-breaker short long weekend. Sounds similar to what I do.

Overall I can't recommend the Ariston enough. One of those great old places that has tradition but has kept current (Wi Fi in the joint). You can order specials that have been a part of their history for decades. Specials that the locals look forward to. It sits right off the old Route 66 on the edge of Litchfield. Stores, shops and motels are nearby. Ariston has been around since about 1935 so just in case your lost on one of the many Illinois state routes in the area just ask any local for directions. Tom Snyder, the late historian and author of 'Searching For 66' as well as the person most responsible for resurrecting Route 66 in the state, called The Ariston the ultimate Route 66 establishment. Snyder ate there often. It's also in the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame, something of honor since it was inducted at the Hall's beginning, back when there were many people and places with direct connections to it.

If you live in the general area try to make The Ariston a day trip. Its an easy drive on I70 from as far away as Terre Haute or down towards St. Louis. Of course, I55 runs very close by as well if you want to pass the old Route. State Route 16 will get you very close, especially driving west from the Mattoon-Charleston area. You will be happy you did, and get a great meal and a bit of history in the bargain. Great way to spend a day.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Do not judge a book by it's cover.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013

Walking up to the front door, with 10-20 motorcycles lined up dominoes-style, you would not expect to find white cloth napkins and tablecloths inside, but much to our surprise that is exactly what we found. My husband had the fried (1/2) chicken with a side of their homemade noodles. (Sunday special always includes baked chicken with these noodles, but we got there just a couple of hours before closing and so they were out of the baked chicken.) I had the fried catfish (wasn't expecting 2 full fiddlers!) with a baked potato. Both also came with the soup and salad bar which had 2 homemade soups and various salads (tortellini salad, quinoa salad, pototo salad, etc.) along with the usual lettuce and all the toppings and dressings. The cream of broccoli soup was really good! My 4 y/o son had a chicken leg and mashed potatoes with a side of (as it turned out) homemade applesauce. He's not too keen on chunky applesauce, but that says more about his taste than the quality of the applesauce. Our oversight regarding our son's applesauce aside, however, everyone thoroughly enjoyed their meal. Our waitress then brought out the dessert tray. Again...homemade selections. We walked out wishing we had not eaten so much, which I consider very high praise.

My husband and I find ourselves eating out quite a bit and, when traveling, even on day trips like today, we often try to find little out of the way restaurants and avoid the chains. Sometimes we're greatly disappointed. Other times we strike gold. Through out the course of our day today, we had the misfortune of experiencing both ends of the spectrum, but I am happy to say we ended our day on a very high note with this dining experience.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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