Iâ€™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 atÂ Ryan’s in Effingham, Illinois.
Greetings from Effingham, Illinois
N 39Â° 08.466â€™Â W 088Â° 33.435â€™Â Elev. 669â€™
Although I canâ€™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 Ryanâ€™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 Iâ€™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 Ryanâ€™s (1102 Avenue of Mid America) is pretty popular with the land-yacht crowd. Itâ€™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.
Ryanâ€™â€™s always has some sort of promotion going on in addition to their regular fare. Lately itâ€™s been Shrimp 5 Ways; butterfly, buffalo, popcorn, coconut and shrimp scampi, which is actually a sautÃ©ed 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 â€” drumsticks so I can read while I eat â€” which is always really, really good.
One of Ryanâ€™s signature things is fresh-from-the-oven yeast rolls. They serve them while theyâ€™re still warm with Sunnyland Honey Spreadâ„¢, a mock honey-butter thatâ€™s quite good. These puppies are fluffy, golden brown and highly addictive. Thatâ€™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 (Ryanâ€™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 hadnâ€™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 wasnâ€™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 Ryanâ€™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. Todayâ€™s was black walnut. Boy, was that good.
All in all not a bad meal for about $10.
And so we roll.
Ryan’s -Â 1102 Ave of Mid America.Â Effingham,Â ILÂ 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.