Starved Rock Country

Outdoor Dining Returns To Downtown Utica

Mill Street al fresco dining destination opens for season

Mill Street, The Village of North Utica’s popular al fresco dining destination, returns for the 2024 travel season. Located just a few minutes from the gates of Starved Rock State Park, Mill Street is the main thoroughfare that runs through the village’s picturesque and bustling one-block dining and shopping district. Since 2020, this road has been closed to motorists for a few months out of the year to allow the village’s restaurants, winery, beer garden and micro brewery to accommodate more foot traffic and allow guests to enjoy their food and drinks in the open air. Join us we explore some of the great drinking and dining stops located along Mill Street.

August Hill Winery Tasting Room

106 Mill St, North Utica

Located right in the heart of downtown Utica, August Hill’s sophisticated tasting room offers a selection of award winning, locally produced, wines. Best of all, their line of sparkling wines is produced with grapes grown on a sprawling vineyard located in Starved Rock Country. Enjoy a glass of August Hill’s award-winning Berlyn Red, share a wine flight on their beautiful patio or even purchase a case of wine to share with friends and family. Check out August Hill’s events calendar for a full list of live music performances, special mimosa events and more.

Bruce & Ollie’s Ice Cream, Specialty Coffee & Deli

166 Mill St, North Utica

Feel like having an artisan ice cream while visiting downtown Utica? Bruce & Ollie’s is the Starved Rock Country region’s newest ice cream parlor, featuring a wide variety of delectable hand-scooped flavors, alongside a selection of craft beverages and grab-and-go food options. Located inside the village’s historic hardware building. This mom-n-pop shop exudes ambiance, featuring original stone walls, exposed beams and a cozy fireplace surrounded by plenty of comfortable seating options. On the menu you’ll find salads, soups, charcuterie boards, sandwiches (hot and cold) and breakfast offerings, alongside drinks like espressos, iced coffees and teas. To see their latest offerings and to hear about upcoming special events, be sure to follow Bruce and Ollie’s one Facebook.

Plenty of diners opted to sit outside on Mill Street in downtown Utica, which was an option at Canal Port.

Canal Port

148 Mill St, North Utica

For over 25+ years, Canal Port has been a staple of Starved Rock Country, serving a wide array of delicious eats and Illinois craft brews. This classic brick pub houses one of the most comfortable and inviting restaurant atmospheres offered in the area. Specializing in fine steaks, seafood and pork chops, Canal Port is the perfect fusion of convenience, comfort and elevated bites. Fan favorite offerings include their fresh fried mushrooms, 8oz ribeye steak sandwich and chicken piccatta (lightly battered, pan seared chicken, in a white wine and lemon caper butter sauce, served over angel hair pasta). For information, and see upcoming specials, be sure to follow Canal Port on Facebook.

Clarks Run Creek

143 Mill Street, North Utica

The Clarks Run Creek wine store stocks an impressive, and eclectic, selection of wines from around the world. You can enjoy a glass while listening to some live acoustic music in their cozy upstairs lounge, or take your favorite bottle to-go for a picnic. The store stocks a variety of Illinois-grown favorites, like Prairie State, Spirit Knob, Blue Sky, Kickapoo Creek, and Pheasant Hollow. You’ll also find a selection of quirky seasonal gifts and a craft beer menu. Nearby sister store Clarks Run Antiques (215 N Division St, North Utica, IL 61373) also features a beautiful wine bar inside an eclectic antique store. Enjoy a glass while listening to live music on their brand-new patio.

Amy and Dan Stash recently opened Ginger Road Brewing in downtown Utica.

Ginger Road Brewing Co.

166 Mill St unit G, North Utica

Ginger Road, Utica’s own nano-brewery, is churning out small batches of craft beer - with big taste. Located conveniently behind Bruce & Ollie’s, just off of Mill Street, this brewery is a passion project for husband and wife duo Amy and Dan Stash. Featuring mostly outdoor patio seating space (which is also pet friendly), Ginger Road’s tap list features an ever evolving selection of experimental beers - recent offerings include Blue Eyed Ginger (a blueberry lemon wheat beer) and Day Walker (a 5.5% Mexican inspired lager). Ginger Road also brews a tasty root beer, for the younger crowd. For more information, and to see upcoming beers on tap, follow Ginger Road Brewing Co. on Facebook.

Joy and Ed’s Bar and Grill

113 Mill St, North Utica

Joy and Ed’s has been part of the Starved Rock Country community since 1958, serving up tasty burgers, cold drinks and convenient carry out. From their hand-breaded chicken to their famed Build Your Own Burgers, everything is made fresh and never frozen. All of Joy and Ed’s BYO Burgers and signature handhelds come with your choice of french fries, bar chips, tater tots, coleslaw or cottage cheese. Time tested fan-favorites include Joy and Ed’s biscuits and gravy, homemade soups and chili - along with a variety of delicious daily specials.

Lodi Tap House

101 Mill Street Utica

Located in historic downtown Utica, just a five minute drive from Starved Rock State Park, you’ll find one of the area’s best new craft beer and burger spots. The Lodi Tap House, a second location for the beloved Maple Park-based bar, sells exclusively Illinois-made craft beers, both canned and from 24 available taps. Lodi’s menu features a wide selection of mouth-watering Americana classics, each with an elevated twist. Pair this with their menu of new American cuisine, like the legendary Smash’d Burger & Curds that was featured on WGN’s Chicago Best, and you have the ideal post-hike destination.

Baby Ruth Byczynski enjoying one of Skoogs "Skoogie Snacks".

Skoogs Pub & Grill

155 Mill St, North Utica

Located in Utica, just minutes from Starved Rock State Park, Skoog’s Pub & Grill is famous for serving up great homemade food, in generous sized portions. This comfortable drinking and dining destination is located right in the heart of cozy downtown Utica, the perfect place to grab some post-hike burgers. Be sure to try the melt-in-your-mouth, 3/4lb, hearty Skoog Burger. This specially seasoned, never frozen burger is stacked high with your choices of cheese, bacon, grilled onion or fresh sautéed mushrooms. Looking for something to share with your group, order a round of Skoog’s Famous Wings, offered breaded or unbreaded in a variety of delicious sauces. If you’re visiting with your fury friends, be sure to ask to see Skoog’s specialty dog menu, featuring a beef patty, a grilled chicken breast-cut into strips, mini all beef wieners, a sweet treat, and fresh water for fido.