Just off the Avenue of Mid-America exit of Interstate 70 in Effingham, Illinois, beyond the hustle and bustle of roadside pit stops and fast-food joints, rural Midwestern character comes to life at Firefly Grill. Owners Kristie and Niall Campbell opened Firefly in 2006 as a place to grow local food and community through the restaurant.

In the past year, the gardens that surround the rustic-meets-modern roadhouse expanded with the purchase of four more acres of land. What the Campbells can’t grow on-site, they carefully source from a handful of small-batch foragers, fishermen and farmers. Guests dining at Firefly have a front row seat to the natural beauty surrounding the restaurant – including a large lake filled with colorful fish – in the glass-lined dining room and four-season patio.

On the seasonally informed lunch, brunch and dinner menus, executive chef Niall balances the flavors of fresh produce with hearty proteins in shareable plates such as steamed buns with braised Berkshire pork belly, Hoisin-barbecue sauce, sweet chile sauce and carrot-coriander salad and in entrées like brown butter-sage roasted Alaskan halibut with porcini-truffle ravioli, cauliflower foam, trumpet mushrooms, nasturtiums, fennel and chive oil.

Flatbreads come straight from the restaurant’s wood-burning oven with piping hot crunchy crusts topped with freshly grown tomatoes, basil, oregano and more, each ingredient a direct connection to the Illinois countryside.

Firefly Grill, 1810 Avenue of Mid-America, Effingham, Illinois, 217.342.2002, ffgrill.com


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