Where to Eat in Monticello: The Brown Bag - Illinois Farm Bureau Partners Where to Eat in Monticello: The Brown Bag - Illinois Farm Bureau Partners

Where to Eat in Monticello: The Brown Bag

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Photo credit: Nathan Lambrecht

What began as a family-owned takeout deli shop more than 40 years ago is now a Monticello fixture on the downtown square. Today, The Brown Bag serves up a vast assortment of sandwiches, homemade soups, fresh salads and pies made daily.

“Everything is made in-house with no preservatives, from our salad dressings to our pie crusts. We even roast our own turkeys,” says Leslie Glickman, who runs the restaurant.

The Brown Bag was opened in 1976 by Glickman’s mother, Harlean Swing. Glickman plans to turn the restaurant over to her own daughter one day.

“My mom was always very active and hands-on in the restaurant. That is what made it so successful,” Glickman says. “She added a lot of personal touches.”

See more: Farm to Fork Restaurants in Chicago and St. Louis

Familial Favorites

Photo credit: Nathan Lambrecht

Those touches include naming menu features after people she’s met. For instance, Bonnie’s Turkey Salad, which is served as a scoop or on bread or a croissant.

Glickman says other local favorites include chili and cheesy broccoli soup, as well as The Veggie – a pita pocket loaded with melted Swiss cheese, tomato, cucumber, creamy coleslaw, and topped with more cheese and lettuce. Also popular, the Honey Berry Roll-Up is made with roasted turkey, bacon, shredded cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce and cranberry sauce in a tortilla.

Save room for dessert, too. Glickman says you won’t go wrong ordering a slice of pie, including coconut or chocolate cream, any of various apple and rhubarb combinations, or chocolate chip cookie pie. Moist cakes are also on the dessert menu. All of the sweet offerings come from Pies by Inge, a business within The Brown Bag.

“The support we get from the community and from visitors is really amazing,” Glickman says. “Monticello is a thriving community, and all of the independent businesses take good care of each other. When you visit, we are like family, really.”

Photo credit: Nathan Lambrecht

Located in an old building on the square, The Brown Bag is currently being remodeled in stages. Glickman welcomes visitors to come see the changes, as well as explore the old architectural features on one of the oldest blocks in Monticello.

See more: Charlie Parker’s Diner Serves Home Cookin’ with a Side of Nostalgia

 

If You Go


The Brown Bag
Location: 212 W, Washington St., Monticello
Hours: Monday through Thursday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch service begins at 11 a.m.
Phone: (217) 762-9221
Website: monticellobrownbag.com

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