|1531 Fort Jesse Rd #1, Normal, IL 61761, USA
|6AM–2PM 6AM–2PM 6AM–2PM 6AM–2PM 6AM–2PM 7AM–2PM 7AM–2PM
This is my third time being here and probably my last. This last time we had a group of 9 that waited well over an hour and a half to be seated. We had many people come after us, get seated, and left before we were seated. Understandably, we had a larger group, but the straw that broke the camels back, was that a group took our reservation and they did nothing to fix it or correct. Instead they gave us a half sincere apology, more out of fear of us ripping them a new one rather than being truly apologetic for their mistake and we had to wait longer until they cleared another table. Now to get to the building and environment itself. It is constantly noisy and echoes in the dining area. They ought to invest in some sound dampening material so you dont have to yell at one another just to ask how their food is (which Ill delve into later). The first time I went they had no clean cups for coffee and instead only had dirty mugs where the clean ones should be. Its a big feature of the restaurant itself and it is almost always unkempt and the last thought for most of the staff. The floors are almost always dirty and look unmopped and at the least, not scrubbed clean and inviting for a food service place. If you arent distracted by the unclean floors, the vents offer another dirty view. Each one has dust covering the fins and have dust bunnies about to fall on the food you waited nearly 2 hours to eat. As far as the food goes, its ok. Not great, certainly nothing to brag about, but isnt bad. The food isnt quite what they claim it to be. The sign says "homestyle food" but that isnt accurate as they have homestyle food masked in a new age, lighter and "fresher" disguise. Their hash browns are typically undercooked and offer no crunch but are old, stale, and mushy. There is a 50/50 chance your waffle will be undercooked and soft, which is not a good thing when its a big part of your signature dishes. I am a biscuit and gravy fanatic and will order them at any breakfast place I go. I appreciate good biscuits and gravy and can generally enjoy them from any hole-in-the-wall or fancy place. Not these. The biscuits and gravy is far from homestyle. You get their undercooked, stale, hasbrowns as the bed, topped with a firm biscuit, topped off with a light, sad gravy that is anything but "homestyle" as they claim. Its not the "stick-to-your-ribs" gravy that is associated with good home cooking but is light, has a mild, gristle filled, sausage and topped of with green onions to try to make it "fresh" or "brighten it up." It just adds a bitter note that isnt welcome on a savory dish. Their green onion obsession doesnt stop at just the one dish, but is instead an invasive part to many of their dishes and just adds a flavor note that doesnt belong and completely changes the flavor profile for any dish they add it to. The Fort Jesse Cafe that offers "homestyle food" is far from that claim and youre better off spent waiting elsewhere. If youre itching to get good breakfast food like Fort Jesse has, Id suggest and IHOP or a Dennys.
Youre probably not going to find a better breakfast place in the B-N area. The food is very good, although its not as good as the better Chicago area breakfast specialty places. I will say that the service is very friendly and attentive. A couple of things prevent me from giving this place 4 stars and make me settle with 3 as the more accurate rating. For one, there are no omelets on the menu. Maybe they would make you one if you asked, but for a breakfast place to not even have them on the menu is really strange. Also, there is basically no effort at all at creating a good dining atmosphere. Its extremely spartan inside, with basically just wood tables and chairs with a couple of random things hanging on the walls. And, the view from the windows is, well...a tire factory : ( Move this place to a cooler location, get some decent decor, and give me omeletes on the menu, and this place is 4 stars all the way.
Wow. Just wow. We had read the reviews, but were still unsure about having to wait 45 minutes. After eating there, I would gladly wait an hour! Our 45 minute wait was actually only 20, so know that it will probably be shorter if youre given a long wait time. Service is amazing, food is fresh and flavorful. We ate until our stomachs hurt. Best pancake Ive ever eaten. We had the bruschetta skillet and the chicken and waffles. Amazing. Chicken and waffles were off the chart, and I loved the skillet too. Grab the cold brew to go, its far superior to Starbucks! The place has fabulous food, and a great vibe. If you havent gone, GO!! If I could give 10 stars I would.
I cannot say enough good things about this place! Food is wonderful, the staff is always pleasant, coffee is always hot and free flowing. I usually come for brunch on the weekends, which are usually very busy so be prepared for a little wait, but totally worth it. Whenever I have friends or family come to visit this is my go-to spot! The dishes range from more unique to your everyday eggs and bacon but all is mouthwatering and gut pleasing. I highly recommend the cornmeal pancakes, shrimp and cheese grits, and the chicken and waffle of course! It is not overpriced either! If you havent checked them out yet, what are you waiting for?
Thursday lunch rush-Parking spaces are in short supply and the wait for both a table and for the food to arrive was just long enough to make me fidgety (22 minutes from order to arrival of sandwiches with no substitutions). The sandwiches were good. The PoBoy was crisp and spicy if messy to eat. The turkey w blackberry was solid though the blackberry jam was lost in the sharpness of the cheese and density of the bread. Chips were amazing! Tea and lemonade were good though also slow to arrive. Didnt try the coffee but from what Ive heard I have to try it sometime. Next time Im in the area Ill be back to try the rest of the menu.
Fort Jesse Cafe has an amazing and delicious brunch (and some of the best food, period) in Bloomington/Normal. It has been more than worth the wait on the Saturdays and Sundays that Ive been (there have been many since the first and many more to come). The variety and creativeness of their menu paired with some classic staples lets you stay in your comfort zone or try something new (which I HIGHLY advise). I hope to make it there for lunch soon, given how mouth-watering the pictures of their specials look on Facebook.
A Private User
The food is great and the service is also wonderful. Its a family owned restaurant and just very welcoming. Weekends are extremely busy and food and service might take time. Food is all homemade and breakfast and lunch is delicious. I have had a few meals from their mexican dishes and were a little spicy but very tasteful. Food is also never greasy which I look for. the food is worth the wait. This is not fast food so of course itll take time wherever you go. If youre in a hurry theres always mcdonalds drive thru.