Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Moonshine Store

In 2003, near the start of our roadside attraction interest, we happened to catch a CBS Sunday Morning feature on the Moonshine Store in Martinsville, Illinois and were intrigued. This old store slings tons of hamburgers each day, has no traditional restaurant seating and the grill shuts down at 12:30 p.m. on the dot. We tried visiting the store shortly after seeing the TV segment, but it didn't work out then.
Heading out for a trip this spring we realized we would not be terribly far from the store (nothing is really "close"), so we added it to our itinerary.
The store was originally founded in 1889, but was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1912.
When we arrived, despite the rain we found a line of people hanging out on the front porch, which does provide some shelter.
The Moonshine Store, which their brochure says was named not for the booze but for the reflection of the moon in a puddle of water outside the store, serves as a gathering place for locals and tourists alike.
I overheard a lady on the porch say they have even had visitors from Hawaii.
In April 2009, a record was set for serving 1,119 sandwiches in one day. We noticed a hand written sign in the store displaying the new record for this year, some 1,900 sandwiches in a day.
It's really amazing when you see how small the area is, and how small the store is, but what they have going works.
Once inside the rustic store, complete with tin ceiling, we made our way through the grill smoke to the back counter to order and both placed orders for cheeseburgers.
The sandwiches were ready in almost record time. We stopped by the condiment table and loaded up our juicy burgers, made a pass by the soda cooler for drinks (I was glad to see Boylan's sodas and selected their ginger ale), then headed to the counter to pay.
They use between 480-720 pounds of hamburger and more than 100 packages of buns per week. We saw racks of buns lining the aisles of the store.
Benches can be found throughout the store where you can sit and enjoy your meal, however these were full during our visit. There are picnic tables outside, but with the steady rain we decided to eat our lunch in the car.
A black lab, who we were not sure whether belonged to the store or maybe just wandered onto the site every day around lunch time, stopped by our car to give us the puppy dog eyes as we enjoyed our burgers. My husband tossed him some chips, but he turned his nose up to that and went off in search of another sucker.
The Moonshine turned out to be the perfect kick off to our roadside adventures.

Moonshine Store
6017 East 300th Road
Martinsville, IL 62442