Lock 16 Café and Visitors Center
754 First St., La Salle
If you're looking for some fascinating history, and a delicious bite to eat, chart a course for the Lock 16 Café & Visitors Center, in historic downtown La Salle. Just a short drive to the west from Utica, this charming building serves as the headquarters of the I&M Canal National Heritage Area.
Exhibits in the visitors center offer terrific insight into the history, and lasting impact, of the I&M Canal. A massive map table shows how the manmade waterway wound from Chicago to La Salle, a true engineering marvel of its day, while the beautiful 8-by-40-foot wrapping mural depicts how significant the canal was to the Illinois economy, and day-to-day life, in the mid- to late-1800s.
If you're still not full from the famous Burgoo stew, don't fret. The Lock 16 Café offers a full menu of lunch and breakfast options. The café features daily Quiche and Frittata specials, a full espresso bar, a wonderful wine and beer menu and a delectable sandwich, soup and salad trio.
If dietary restrictions kept you from sampling the stew at Burgoo, Lock 16 also sports a variety of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, like the Mary Todd Veggie Wrap (fresh mixed greens, carrots, peppers, tomato and cucumber, on a bed of hot rice, complete with your choice of dressing, all served in a soft spinach tortilla).
For more information, visit: www.iandmcanal.org/lock-16-cafe
Hours: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday