Charlie Parker’s lives up to its reputation


Photographs courtesy of Tiffany Chin

Diners wait for their meal at Charlie Parker’s.

Tiffany Chin, Photographer

I have been searching for unique and quality places in Springfield since I came to campus. Small, local diners and cafes are something I have a special appreciation for.

The other day, I had the pleasure of dining at one of the gems of Springfield. Charlie Parker’s is a popular restaurant located at 700 North Street. For those who have never been here, it is near D’Arcy’s Pint, and there is a back road that takes you there. It was quite confusing driving there, but it was worth it when I finally arrived.

Charlie Parker’s is a very popular diner in Springfield. This diner has won numerous awards and has received recognition for its great food. Charlie Parker’s was also featured on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives in 2008.

This place is extremely popular among travelers as well as locals. In fact, one of the waitresses mentioned to me that many UIS students are regulars. While I was there, the entire restaurant was packed with people of all ages. This is not surprising, the diner is a great place for families.

Since it was so busy, I was not able to interview the workers, although a waitress did mention that the diner was once a Quonset hut during WWII. Quonset huts were used as shelters for people and materials.

Inside, it is now beautifully decorated with vinyls along the walls and the entire diner is filled with the alluring aroma of fried foods. The aroma of deliciously unhealthy food was noticeable from the parking lot.

There is the option of booth, table, or counter seating. This was one of the most crowded places that I have been to in Springfield, almost every table was taken. I seated myself at the counter and was immediately greeted and handed a menu. The service here is extremely quick and the waitresses are definitely experienced.

I got coffee and the special that day, which was the fried chicken meal. This meal included; two pieces of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, a roll, and two cookies. Everything on my plate was flavorful and absolutely delicious. The fried chicken was well-seasoned and not too dry. It was the ultimate comfort meal. As I enjoyed my meal, I noticed the meals that other customers were getting also looked delicious. I was honestly tempted to order more food to try.

Overall, I enjoyed my food and the price was fair. My total was only $9.44. I will definitely be going back there.

Places like these are the ones that make me appreciate small towns such as Springfield. This diner is the classic representation of a stereotypical small town diner, but with a modern twist. Though the décor was eye-pleasing, I would return to this diner if it was not decorated at all. The food was delicious and their prices are fair.