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Local Flavor: The Whistle Stop Cafe

Pat Smarto

Pat loves looking at houses and finding the right house for her buyers so she can make their home ownership dreams come true...

Pat loves looking at houses and finding the right house for her buyers so she can make their home ownership dreams come true...

Mar 22 4 minutes read

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It’s a sunny morning and you wake up hungry for breakfast. You’ve heard about this little joint down the street and thought you would check it out. As you walk into the cafe, you are immediately greeted by the nostalgic decor. Postcards of local train depots, Fox Lake and Ingleside, from the late 1800s. The other train themed décor you see is from the 1950s. The feeling is cozy and comfortable and you are ready to eat!

Welcome To The Whistle Stop Cafe!

Melinda and Butch Conrad are the owners of this amazing little establishment, the Whistle Stop Cafe. They have been running this cafe since 1996, that’s 22 years this spring!

They have regulars. Regulars that are there like clockwork. Why? Because the food and the customer service is outstanding.

Two sets of regulars grace the long table by the window, an early morning crowd starting at 5am, and then another that forms a couple hours later. Daily diners.

Surrounded by the model train decor, they have a “meeting of the minds,” solving the world’s problems, talking about local events, and greeting most of the people who walk in the door by name.

Talk, you say? Not just having their noses in their phones? Old school stuff – actual conversation.


Good Eats!

Outside of the atmosphere, the Whistle Stop Cafe is known for their homemade pies, from taffy apple pie – to their famous homemade custard that goes into their banana cream pie.

                 And fresh from scratch biscuits and gravy.

                                                  And great coffee.


Have we hooked you yet?

You slide up to the counter, just like the one you remember from when you were a kid. The counter is from when the building was originally a drug store. Melinda said that they even found Bayer-aspirin when breaking the original flooring up.

So what else is there to eat here? The Whistle Stop Cafe is known for its breakfast foods. But should you not like breakfast, their lunch menu is well rounded and popular. They have frequently rotated specials, like the buffalo chicken wrap or their ½ sandwich ½ soup specials and ½ calorie pie (half slice).

For the record, who wants a half slice of their luscious homemade pies? Give me a WHOLE slice please!


Whistle Stop Cafe is a favorite among the locals. 

As one local put it, ‘Go for the biscuits and gravy, stay for the people and atmosphere. Even while busy, the servers do their best to make sure your coffee is piping hot and always refilled. Many find the speed at which food pours from the kitchen surprisingly fast.

The only thing locals said they would like to change would be to add a dinner option, as the Whistle Stop cafe is only open 5am – 2pm.


Spruced Up & Ready For Fall

A few weeks ago Melinda and Butch temporarily closed The Whistle Stop Cafe for a little light sprucing up. This included fresh coats of paint and maintenance to keep the kitchen running like a well-oiled machine. They’ve also decked out the cafe for the fall and holiday season!

Stop in and grab a bite at The Whistle Stop Cafe for breakfast and lunch. You will not be disappointed!


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