Springfield’s famous “horseshoe” open-faced sandwich originated as a lunch menu novelty. It was first served at the elegant and historic Leland Hotel in Illinois’ capital city. The horseshoe was presented on a metal plate representing an anvil. It included horseshoe-shaped ham on toast, Welsh rarebit, and potato wedges that represented nails.
Today, most Springfield restaurants have horseshoes on the menu. Many have super-sized the ‘shoe to the point where it bears more resemblance to a haystack than a horseshoe.
Horseshoes have evolved into breakfast fare, too, and Charlie Parker’s serves up one of the most beloved breakfast horseshoes according to locals and road-food pundits.
Some restaurants serve a no-frills version with toast, meat and canned, boxed or bottled cheese sauce. But other Springfield restaurant chefs remain quite creative and competitive in the city’s culinary horse race for the best ‘shoe. Local contest judges, participants, self-appointed ‘shoe shoppers and national food experts routinely weigh in on the debate.
Try Breakfast Horseshoes at Charlie Parker’s, Voted “Best Diner”
Charlie Parker’s Diner is located in a vintage Quonset Hut building at 700 North Street, Springfield, Ill.
The eat-in or carry-out diner routinely picks up local awards for “best breakfast” and “best diner.” Breakfast is served past noon, so it works for breakfast, brunch or lunch. The restaurant’s “Eat it & Beat it” slogan reflects the crowd appeal of one of Springfield’s best restaurants.
The diner serves up plenty of piping hot meals in a fast and friendly fashion. It’s widely known for its one-of-a-kind style and generous portions of genuine comfort food.
Patrons often line up outside this unique Springfield restaurant. Most don’t mind the wait. They’re typically pleasantly distracted by visions of breakfast horseshoes with hash browns and gravy; blueberry stuffed French toast casserole, or that famous stack of 16-inch, saucer-sized pancakes with a pitcher of syrup on the side.
Diner Décor in a Quaint Quonset Hut
Charlie’s military-style prefabricated Quonset hut is hard to miss. Inside the corrugated metal dome is a 1950s style diner. Retro bar stools, neon artwork and classic records add to the restaurant’s upbeat ambiance.
Charlie’s breakfast horseshoe comes with the diner’s choice of eggs – scrambled, over-easy or otherwise – on toast, topped with sausage, bacon or ham. Diners can also choose to have creamy gravy, a secret-recipe hot cheese sauce, or both on their ‘shoe. All of this is topped with hash browns or wedge-cut American-style fries.
Charlie Parker’s breakfast horseshoe sandwich is also available in the slightly less hefty “pony shoe” version. Or, restaurant patrons can split the standard-size horseshoe. Like the 16-inch, saucer-sized pancakes, they’re made to be shared. On the other hand, if restaurant patrons can eat the entire stack of four giant pancakes, the pancakes are on the house … (or hut!)
Road Food Junkies, Media Stars and Foodies Know Where to Eat Breakfast in Springfield
The Food Network and other culinary luminaries have featured Charlie Parker’s Diner. The Springfield restaurant was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and WGN America’s Sky Dives, among other media pit stops and spotlights.
Charlie Parker’s is one of many Springfield restaurants serving the breakfast horseshoe, in addition to the more familiar lunchtime horseshoe. From the restaurant’s unique hut exterior to the retro décor interior to the heavyweight “nobody leaves hungry” horseshoes and more, it’s a fun-for-all-ages dining experience.
Other Places to Try a Breakfast Horseshoe include:
- D&J Café
- Sgt. Pepper’s Cafe
- Yesterday’s Restaurant in Route 66 Hotel
- Lindsay’s Restaurant in the Abraham Lincoln Hotel
©2015 / Originally published at Suite101.com