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Midwest Restaurants Featuring Local Foods?

Thank you! Thank you!

Midwest Restaurants Featuring Local Foods?

“And you do realize, don't you, that salt and black pepper aren't local to the Midwest?” - AnneInMpls Apr 23, 2009 12:24AM

Cargill’s Salt Operations are headquartered in Minneapolis and Morton Salt (which was recently purchased by a German company) is headquartered in Chicago. Both with good reason – during the Cretaceous period, the Midwest was under the North American Inland Sea. Because of this, our area sits upon billions of dollars (and tons) of salt.

Companies like Cargill and Morton, dry mine or vacuum evaporate salt from numerous mines, especially in the upper Midwest around the Great Lakes. Dry mined salt results in rock salt which has limited culinary applications outside of old-fashioned ice cream makers and for serving raw oysters. Evaporated salt is used for traditional table salt.

An example is Diamond Crystal salt which is created by the Alberger Process and comes from St. Clair, MI. This salt is lighter and flakier making it popular with fast food chains and the food industry. It is available via retail as iodized table salt and kosher varieties.

Iodized salt was developed at the turn of the century specifically for people in the Midwest because our soil does not contain high enough levels of iodine. When our area primarily depended upon local food, there were high rates of hypothyroidism (goiter) due to low levels of iodine in our diets. Recent studies show that rates of hypothyroidism are starting to increase again because more people are using sea salt. Ironically, sea salt does not contain iodine even though iodine can be found naturally in kelp and seafood.

While this isn’t on the topic of local foods at restaurants, salt could be considered one of the most local commodities the Midwest has to offer.

Thank you again for everyone sharing tips and links!


Midwest Restaurants Featuring Local Foods?

We wanted feedback from forums like Chow, etc. to see where you're eating and finding local influences. My background is in the tourism industry, so it'd be easy for me to call local tourism offices or visit their websites - but that's not always the best option as those organizations are membership based.

The idea for this stems from the 2007 Illinois Food and Farm Act- which reports and laments, that Illinois (like a lot of Midwestern states) imports too much of its food. A committee has been formed and the goal know is to have 20 percent of this estimated $45 billion industry keep its business within the state by 2020. This includes distribution, processing and of course, growing.

When June opened its doors in Peoria, it has received a lot of hoopla in the local and national press. I have my qualms with them - their wine list is almost all Australian when we have several vineyards in our area and the state; their fish selections are almost all seafood and there are plenty of options for fish in the Great Lakes area. Myself and the farmers at our local farmers' markets are also the first to admit that Peoria is way behind in the 'local food' movement. We're still just trying to get people to the markets and area chefs interested.

And, since 'local' and 'seasonal' are such buzzwords, it does make it a bit difficult to do a google search. By asking for feedback on a forum like this - and by the way, THANK YOU, it gives us the opportunity to research further and select restaurants for our growing site. As we look at the menus and talk to these chefs we'll be able to better set criteria for listing restaurants.

Midwest Restaurants Featuring Local Foods?

Thank you so much! A few years ago there was this push to reclaim Midwestern food - and then it died out. But the best part of eating in the Midwest - we know comfort food and we know how to eat seasonally.

Midwest Restaurants Featuring Local Foods?

I think Cleveland will be the next foodie destination - the chefs there are always on trend, or even ahead of it.

Midwest Restaurants Featuring Local Foods?

Thank you Anne - Riddle's does a wonderful job of crediting their sources.

Midwest Restaurants Featuring Local Foods?

Their menu is wonderful - and such great prices.

Midwest Restaurants Featuring Local Foods?

Thank you! I haven't been to Cleveland in while - I think a roadtrip is in order!

Midwest Restaurants Featuring Local Foods?

Many of the farmers in my area take their produce to the Green City Market because they can get better prices than in Peoria - I had Lula and Green Zebra on my list - thanks for the others!

Midwest Restaurants Featuring Local Foods?

Thank you! I love their concept. - GE

Midwest Restaurants Featuring Local Foods?


Peoria, Illinois has been featured in national and regional papers recently for the restaurant, June, which opened a couple of months ago. The restaurant features selected local foods from season to season.

Do you have any restaurants in your Midwestern region that focus on local foods? We're working on developing a new website, and would like to write some reviews/features.

Gina Edwards