Join us on a culinary adventure! Indulge in colossal burgers and southern delights that satisfy every craving.

We’re Bruce and Karen Carlson. We recently moved to the Metro East area of Illinois. It’s a whole new world out there. Our goal with this website is to share our exploration of the Metro East area. As we find businesses and services we use in our daily lives, we’ll share how these businesses and services have helped make our lives better and easier to live.

We’re calling our move to the Metro East area retirement, but we’re not quite sure what that means. By sharing our story with you, we hope you too will gain a better sense of what the Metro East area has to offer and how their businesses and services can improve your lives and build a better community.

It all began at the Christmas gathering

You know, the road to this review began in a rather unexpected place: our family Christmas gathering. Picture this: a cozy clubhouse in Palatine, a tradition spanning many years, where Karen and I watched our nieces and nephews grow. Now, they’re bringing their kids along – a testament to how time flies.

It’s during these gatherings that we catch up, swap stories, and reminisce about past adventures. This particular year, our conversation with our niece Kelly and her husband Garrett took an interesting turn.

We were chatting with them about our recent move to the Metro East area, and they reminded us that they were alumnus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). They were reminded of the good times when they were in school there.

 Our discussion shifted to our website project, eastofstlouis.com, where we reviewed local stores, services, and restaurants. Their faces lit up at the mention, and they began to share stories of places to go and places to eat. They fondly recalled Lotawata Creek, a place synonymous with hearty meals in their college memories.

Fast forward to last week. We met with Brendan Barone of Kunkel Commercial Group at a Panera in Shiloh. Post-interview, we decided to take Kelly and Garrett’s advice and headed to Lotawata Creek for dinner. Just a short drive from our meeting spot, the restaurant was conveniently located off I-64.

Generous portions

Upon arrival, the restaurant jogged my memory of a drive with Scott, who had echoed Kelly and Garrett’s sentiments about the generous portions. It was a Thursday evening, thankfully not too crowded, and we were seated promptly.

Our waitress, Riley, greeted us with a warm smile and took our drink orders. The menu, a tribute to southern cuisine, presented a tantalizing array of choices. Our eyes were drawn to the ‘Bucket O’ Rings’ – with a name like that, who wouldn’t be curious? Let me tell you, it was the largest serving of onion rings we’d ever seen, setting a grand stage for the rest of our meal.

Now, I wasn’t in the mood for a heavy meal, but one glance at the menu, and it was clear: there was nothing small about the portions here. I settled on a burger, though ‘settled’ might be the wrong word when you consider their colossal size.

These weren’t just any burgers – they were a mountain of flavors, topped with everything from eggs and bacon to onion rings and a variety of sauces. And yes, each burger was a whopping 12 oz. – larger than the steaks I usually order!

The menu isn’t just sandwiches and burgers. They have a selection of steaks, Texas, and classic cuts. Of course, if you’re going to have a southern menu you’ll have to have a seafood section. There is quite a large selection of seafood choices.

A menu that calls to you

Even though I wasn’t up for a big meal, the southern-inspired seafood options were tempting. I could almost hear the Mississippi Delta Catfish calling my name, but I resisted.

As we awaited our main course, we couldn’t help but notice unique shades hanging from the ceiling. Riley explained they were a relic from the COVID-19 days, used to isolate tables. When our food arrived, it was accompanied by the largest pile of fries I’ve ever seen – a slightly intimidating sight.

I’ve always prided myself on my appetite, but even I had to admit defeat. Much of our meal was destined for leftovers, including half of Karen’s enormous Nacogdoches Prime Rib sandwich. We filled three large Styrofoam containers with all the leftovers.

All said and done, it was a delightful dinner experience. Riley was an excellent host, and the food was a true testament to southern hospitality. I’m already planning a return trip for that Mississippi Delta Catfish.

Ya all come again

In conclusion, if you’re ever in the mood for a meal that truly satisfies your hunger, head over to Lotawata Creek. And if you’re lucky enough to have Riley as your waitress, you’re in for a treat. As we continue our culinary journey, the challenge remains so many restaurants and so much good food. But one thing’s for sure – Lotawata Creek is a must-visit. Highly recommended!

We hope you are enjoying these articles and are willing to continue to follow along as we share our adventures of learning about life in southern Illinois, This is an exciting area and we are so happy to be part of this area. Our lives are being fulfilled by the people we are meeting. Bruce & Karen.

Enjoy the pictures