Archive for category Restaurants

The Brickhouse

I recently had the pleasure of eating a buffalo chicken horseshoe from the original Brickhouse location on the west side of town.  I’d heard great things about the Brickhouse as well as the nearby Corner Pub but not being from the West side, I had never been.  On my birthday, St. Patrick’s day, a good friend bought me a horseshoe at the Brickhouse for lunch.

A Buffalo Chicken shoe at the Brickhouse

I must say, I was impressed, the cheese had a bit of kick to it and everything was cooked well.  The fries and the cheese sauce were especially good.  The Brickhouse has since added a second location in downtown Springfield, in the location  of the former Sammy’s Sports Bar.



Sammy’s Sports Bar and Grill is located in a former Hardees storefront right off the old capitol sqaure.  The Hardees may have been the worst customer service fast food joint in town and run down to boot.  Sammy’s is the polar opposite of the former tenants.  You can expect good attentive service at Sammy’s and they’ve certainly tried to deck the place out.  Plasma TVs, posters all over the walls and delicious food.  Sammy’s really specializes in fried appetizers and huge sandwiches.  Their horseshoe menu is actually a small part of an otherwise huge menu.

Sammy's Horseshoe menu in Springfield, Illinois.

I opted for a buffalo chicken horseshoe.  It was served with a side of bleu cheese dressing.   The fries are always good at Sammy’s and the cheese sauce was a tangy yellow sauce.  It was a good horseshoe but I was actually disappointed in the buffalo chicken.  While it had a good flavor, instead of the standard homemade breaded chicken breast, they served 2 seemingly premade frozen chicken strips. 

A Buffalo Chicken horseshoe from Sammy's in Springfield, Illinois

The horseshoe was good and I’m certainly going to try another one sometime soon but I’d call this trip a mixed bag.


Today we travelled well off the beaten path to Delaneys, a small grill on a side street near the state fairgrounds.  Be warned, Delaney’s is a cash only establishment so make sure to hit an ATM on the way.   Delaney’s is also the first place since I started this site that asked me why I was taking pictures of everyone’s lunch.  They asked if we were out-of-towners.  I suppose that tells you about the level of service that you get at a small place like this, they were attentive enough to our needs to notice how weird we were and were cool with it.  They had a pretty great selection of shoes, including a Shrimp shoe, which a reader recently commented on.  I’ll definitely be back to try one but stuck to an old standby today.  Here is their horseshoe menu, you’ll notice they offer a lot of customization to your shoe a la carte.  It may seem strange to have to pay to add options, but their prices are so low in the first place that you still come out ahead.

Delaney's Horseshoe Menu

I went with a classic, a ham ponyshoe.  It was thin slices of fried ham server on a piece of toast.  The fries were crinkle cut and average.  The sauce was a white cheese sauce which leaned towards a cheese gravy similar to Westwoods but actually a little better.

A ham ponyshoe from Delaney's in Springfield, Illinois.

Two friends had ribeye pony’s which they topped with A1

A ribeye steak ponyshoe from Delaney's in Springfield, Illinois

and a hamburger horseshoe was devoured as well. 

A hamburger horseshoe from Delaney's in Springfield, Illinois.

All in all if you have cash and can find it Delaney’s was a good place to get a shoe.

The Sportsman’s Lounge

I was in the neighborhood recently so I stopped by the Sportsman’s lounge for a horseshoe this week.  The Sportsman’s lounge is a Chicago Cubs themed hole in the wall that just recently re-opened.  There are only a few tables and they seem to do a good lunch business.

The Horseshoe Menu at Sportsman's Lounge in Springfield, Illinois

The fried pork tenderloin shoe is really their specialty but I opted for a Buffalo chicken instead.

A Buffalo Chicken Horseshoe from the Sportsman's Lounge in Springfield, Illinois.

A funny thing about running this website is that my friends and I have eaten so many shoes since we started that we are really starting to get picky.  The cheese sauce at Sportsman’s was average.  It really tasted a lot like yellow american cheese and milk.  It was creamy and well executed but nothing special.  The portion size was very generous with the horseshoe including two breaded chicken breasts.  There were a lot of very good crisp steak fries as well.


I went to Ritz’s on Jefferson in Springfield, Illinois this past week and had a hamburger horseshoe.  Ritz’s serves a classic yellow cheese shoe with crinkle cut fries.  I ordered a hamburger ponyshoe and thoroughly enjoyed it.  the Ritz’s shoes are similar to the Barrel Head but with a more yellow sauce. 

A Hamburger Ponyshoe from Ritz's in Springfield, Illinois

You really just get a  good yellow american flavor from their sauce.  Ritz’s does everything right, all the parts are fresh and piping hot to your table.  I really think that the french fries at Ritz’s are extraordinarily good, perhaps the freshest in town.  You can tell your shoe hasn’t sat under a heat lamp long because they are as crispy under the cheese as the might be if they were just server on the side. 

A friend who was along ordered an egg horseshoe. 

An Egg Horseshoe from Ritz's in Srpingfield, Illinois

In place of meat, his shoe had an egg over-easy.  While Ritz’s has a pretty big breakfast horseshoe menu, he had his with cheese and fries.  He said it was pretty good but I didn’t try it.

The Horseshoe menu from Ritz's in Springfield, Illinois

The Breakfast Horseshoe menu from Ritz's in Springfield, Illinois

Dublin Pub

The Dublin Pub, also called the Publin, is a restaurant who stands on the shoulders of a giant.  A few years ago when D’Arcy’s Pint decided to relocate to a bigger location to accomodate their success they left a storefront location dressed up like an Irish pub.  The owner’s of the Dublin Pub capitalized on the D’Arcy’s move and opened a new Irish Pub/horseshewery in the same location.  To be honest, the interior looks almost exactly the same and so do the horseshoes. 

The Dublin Pub has a large horseshoe menu and offers the choice of a white cheese sauce similar to D’Arcy’s or a yellow cheese sauce. 

Dublin Pub Horseshoe Menu

Dublin Pub Horseshoe Menu

 Their shoes come on Texas toast and feature crinkle fries.  Their two-cheese approach can lead to some interesting shoes.  I dined here recently and had a hamburger horseshoe with half-white cheese and half-yellow cheese.  You can see the yellow cheese on the right side of the picture and the white on the left.


This is a hamburger horseshoe from the Dublin Pub in Springfield, Illinois featuring half white cheese sauce and half yellow cheese sauce.

This is a hamburger horseshoe from the Dublin Pub in Springfield, Illinois featuring half white cheese sauce and half yellow cheese sauce.

Fortunately for this blog, two of my friends who were along also had hamburger shoes, one had all yellow

Here is a White Cheese Hamburger Horseshoe from the Dublin Pub in Springfield, Illinois.

Here is a Yellow Cheese Hamburger Horseshoe from the Dublin Pub in Springfield, Illinois.

and one had all white.

A Hamburger Horseshoe with Yellow Cheese from the Dublin Pub in Springfield, Illinois

A Hamburger Horseshoe with White Cheese from the Dublin Pub in Springfield, Illinois


I had a horseshoe at the Maid-Rite today.  A little history is probably in order.  The Maid-Rite claims to be the world’s first drive through restaurant.  It is a tiny little restaurant just west of downtown Springfield.  The place has been around forever.  You can still get frosty mug root beer that they make themselves.  The Maid-Rite sandwich is a loose meat sandwich on a bun wrapped in wax paper.  Abe Lincoln himself may have eaten at the Maid-Rite.

You may have noticed that I didn’t specify the type of horseshoe I had.  That’s because there are no choices.  They have a single horseshoe on the menu.  It is not a typical horseshoe in any way however.  Instead of toast, they use a hamburger bun.  Directly on top of the bun are the steak fries.  The cheese sauce is poured on top of the fries and the Maid-Rite loose meat is spread on top of it all.  Just like the Maid-Rite itself, the horseshoe is one of a kind.

A horseshoe at Maid-Rite is unlike any other with meat on the top.
A horseshoe at Maid-Rite is unlike any other with meat on the top.

The horseshoe itself was good but not great.  Honestly, I think if you are going to the Maid-Rite you’d be better off sticking with their special – 2 maid-rite sandwiches, fries and a frosty home-made rootbeer.

D’Arcy’s Pint

For many locals, the question of where to find the very best horseshoe has only one answer – D’Arcy’s Pint. As you can judge by the name, D’Arcy’s is an Irish eatery that just happens to serve top notch horseshoes. Their regular menu is pretty good too, as if anyone orders that stuff anyway. D’arcy’s uses a white cheese sauce that is delicious. The shoes feature crinkle cut fries, which are just perfect for delivering more cheese sauce per dip than standard fries.

D’Arcy’s specialty is the buffalo chicken horseshoe which is server with a cup of bleu cheese dressing and a cup of buffalo sauce on the side for dipping or pouring over your horseshoe.

D’Arcy’s Pint Website

West Woods

We went to West Woods on Friday for lunch and decided to have an Italian Beef horseshoe. 


West Woods is a hunting themed grill so they call their shoes “Snow shoes”.  West Woods has a pretty huge menu and their horsehoe menu is very extensive. 

West Woods "Snowshoe Menu"

West Woods "Snowshoe Menu"

It is a customizer’s dream, not only can you choose what meat you want, you can also choose your potato product as well.  You can choose fries, tots, homemade chips or even deep fried round potatoes.  But wait there is more…you can also deviate from their standard white cheese sauce and choose a bleu cheese sauce or a spicy sauce.  I’ve yet to try anything other than the standard sauce here so far though but will try in the future to review their other sauces.  As far as their standard sauce, it is a white cheese variety and is very thick in consistency.  It actually reminds me of breakfast gravy in texture.  As far as flavor, its a really subdued cheese flavor and I am struggling to describe it.  It’s not great, it’s not bad, just sort of average as cheese sauces go.  It isn’t your run of the mill yellow sauce though so it is a nice change.

The West Woods Website

Barrel Head Pub

I had a hamburger ponyshoe today at the Barrel Head Pub so thought I would do a review for you.  First off, you know from the basics that a ponyshoe is a smaller horseshoe.  I have already planned to visit the Dublin Pub Friday so I didn’t want to get stuffed.  My ponyshoe consisted of one piece of texas toast, one hamburger, a stack of fries and a yellow cheese sauce.  

The cheese sauce was mild with little extra spice.  I would say it was had a creamy american flavor, maybe with a velveeta.   The hamburger was medium as I had ordered and very tasty.  The Barrel Head uses really wide steak fries on their shoes which are not messy to eat and work well with hamburger shoes especially if you add ketchup and mustard.  All in all, Barrel Head shoes are a tasty and well executed version of a standard shoe. 


Here is a shot I took with my iPhone fresh from the kitchen:

A Hamburger ponyshoe fresh from the kitchen at the Barrel Head

A Hamburger ponyshoe fresh from the kitchen at the Barrel Head


Some people eat their horseshoes plain and some use condiments.  I almost always use ketchup and mustard on hamburger shoes:

I really like ketchup and mustard on hamburger shoes

I really like ketchup and mustard on hamburger shoes

Here is Gary being a good sport for the blog:
A customer prepares to dig in to a horseshoe at the Barrel Head Pub

A customer prepares to dig in to a horseshoe at the Barrel Head Pub

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