I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is at Ryan’s in Effingham, Illinois.
Greetings from Effingham, Illinois
N 39° 08.466’ W 088° 33.435’ Elev. 669’
Although I can’t really eat all that much, I try to go to all-you-can-eat buffets whenever possible. Not only do I enjoy the variety, it gives me an opportunity to power down on vegetables.
I usually go to a Ryan’s weekdays between 1-3 p.m. when I can because, for some reason, during the day the good folks there think I look and/or smell like a senior citizen, thus I get the senior lunch. It costs about $6.50 and includes a drink.
Being a weekend, and because I’m on a night-driving schedule for the next two weeks to allow watching the Little League World Series on my satellite TV, I went for dinner and, lo and behold, the fountain-of-youth effect kicked in again and I had to pay full fare.
This particular Ryan’s (1102 Avenue of Mid America) is pretty popular with the land-yacht crowd. It’s easy-in/easy-out, and there are a number of truck stops and a Merchant of Death (WalMart) nearby. This allows truck drivers to get a lot of things accomplished in a short period of time, which is very important due to Department of Transportation (DOT) Hours of Service regulations.
Ryan’’s always has some sort of promotion going on in addition to their regular fare. Lately it’s been Shrimp 5 Ways; butterfly, buffalo, popcorn, coconut and shrimp scampi, which is actually a sautéed shrimp and pasta affair.
I went for the butterfly and coconut shrimp, which was good but nothing to write a message in a bottle about. I also had some fried chicken — drumsticks so I can read while I eat — which is always really, really good.
One of Ryan’s signature things is fresh-from-the-oven yeast rolls. They serve them while they’re still warm with Sunnyland Honey Spread™, a mock honey-butter that’s quite good. These puppies are fluffy, golden brown and highly addictive. That’s why I only have them bring me one.
As for vegetables, I had some baked beans, steamed cabbage and fire-roasted yellow squash., While the squash was a bit undercooked (Ryan’s always undercooks its squash, broccoli and cauliflower, which always bears mushy) it was quite tasty yet crunchy. I also had a spinach, spring mix and beet salad with a raspberry vinaigrette, also quite tasty.
Something I hadn’t seen or noticed before that was a real standout was a bean salad that consisted of black-eyed peas, baby lima, white, pinto and red beans. Unlike a three-bean salad, it wasn’t at all vinegary yet still slightly sweet. Better still, the beans were crunchy. Great flavor, great texture. a little hill of beans that really amounted to something.
All Ryan’s have an in-house bakery and a decent selection of desserts. They also all have soft-serve ice cream. But some of them also have hand-scooped, hard-pack ice cream, and this was one of them. In addition to the regular fare (chocolate chip cookie dough, strawberry, and orange sherbet) they always have a wild-card flavor. Today’s was black walnut. Boy, was that good.
All in all not a bad meal for about $10.
And so we roll.
Ryan’s – 1102 Ave of Mid America. Effingham, IL 62401
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.