Not playing in Peoria
January 22, 2013 7:25 PM   Subscribe

I have to go to Peoria, IL for a week starting February 6 to tend to the affairs of my mother, whose dementia is getting worse. I grew up there but I haven't been back for years, and when I did go back I stayed at Mom's. Now there is no room at Mom's because she's in assisted care. Where should I stay?

In particular I am not looking forward to eating fast food or at a restaurant every day, so I am considering taking a room with a full kitchen at the Residence Inn by Marriott. It's close to a Fresh Market, and also three miles from Mom's assisted care facility. The rooms there list for $159 a night. That's Plan A.

Plan B is another Marriott property, Springhill Suites, with a microwave and mini fridge for $139. The rate goes down to $109 for the weekend. It's being renovated, according to the website. Also close to Fresh Market, three miles from Mom.

Plan C is a downtown "boutique" hotel, the Mark Twain, with a microwave and mini fridge for $129. There is a restaurant in the hotel, so there's room service. Since it's downtown I assume there are other places to eat nearby. I could be wrong. It's also more than twice as far to Mom's.

I've looked at hotel reviews and these seem like the best bets (Peoria apparently has a lot of awful hotels). Price is an object but not much of one - the $159 is more than I want to pay, but I can manage it if I have to and if it's worth it. I think being able to cook might be comforting. I anticipate this being a rather stressful visit, while I am used to a lot of solitude and serenity.

Anybody live there or been there for business recently? Is it worth it to be downtown for dining options? Got a better recommendation than my Plans A B or C? Any place decent to eat that you could recommend? Anything else I should know about Peoria in February? (I live in Denver.) I will have Mom's car.

Any tips on dealing with unkind demented mothers is appreciated as well. I had a hard enough time dealing with the constant criticism when she was not suffering from dementia. SO not looking forward to this.
posted by caryatid to Travel & Transportation around Peoria, IL (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This sounds super tough. Maybe Air BnB? That way you'll have more of a 'home' to return to at the end of the day.
posted by justjess at 7:28 PM on January 22, 2013

The Mark Twain is super nice, and the restaurant is very good. (I'm not super-sure what's RIGHT by the Mark Twain, but definitely within four blocks there are plenty of good places to eat.) It only takes 20 minutes to get from downtown to the farthest reaches of the city, and the Mark Twain is right next to the expressway entrance (and like four stops on the Expressway to the Fresh Market).

I have stayed at the Residence Inn (when I first moved here) and had friends stay at Springhill, they're both fine and both close to the mall and lots of chain restaurants. But the Mark Twain is much nicer.

Is your mom at Buehler Home? It's about 10 minutes on surface streets from the Mark Twain to Buehler. I'd say it's maybe 8 minutes or so from the Residence Inn to Buehler (higher-speed roads, but longer and more lights).

If you tell me what sort of food you like to eat, I'll tell you where to eat. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:07 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Any tips on dealing with unkind demented mothers is appreciated as well.

By far the more important question. Think of things you don't like and decide where your boundary is going to be ahead of time. Then stick to that boundary.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:14 PM on January 22, 2013

Response by poster: Mom's at Independence Village, on Northmoor Road. I hear it's very good.

I don't like fast food. I don't like chains. I like simple healthful food made from quality ingredients. In restaurants this is expensive; when I cook at home it is not. I know I sound like a food snob, but Peoria sits in the middle of some of the finest farmland on the planet and last time I was there I could not find a single restaurant serving fresh local produce or meat. In August. It was all frozen factory farmed overprocessed crap shipped in from somewhere else and deep fried.

If the Mark Twain is that much nicer I may go that way after all. A nice place to stay could make up for a lot. I don't want to do AirBnB because a hotel room would feel more comfortable to me than someone else's house. I can't explain it.
posted by caryatid at 11:19 PM on January 22, 2013

Best answer: I also grew up in Peoria, but don't live there anymore. Visit the city ~4 times a year.

Peoria Heights has some nice restaurants now, if you want to treat yourself. I always enjoy a meal at 7 on Prospect. I haven't been to the other places, but people have told me the other nearby restaurants are nice.

My absolutely favorite place to eat in Peoria, the place I always have to visit at least once, is One World Cafe. Highly recommended if you need to get out and relax with a book and some great food. I've been stopping by there for ~15 years now and I don't think I've ever had a bad or disappointing experience.

But I'll agree with your general statement that most of Peoria is sadly chain places with reheated food. Very sad.
posted by sbutler at 12:04 AM on January 23, 2013

Best answer: I was in Peoria for almost a week in December and stayed at the Mark Twain. The only thing that makes it "boutique" is that it's independent. Otherwise, it's a pretty average hotel. The rooms are really basic and average. Nothing to get excited about. I was expecting something more like a Kimpton. Everyone that I was working with in Peoria treated the hotel like it was a place for special occasions. If that's the best place in the area, then stay there, but don't get your hopes up.

The restaurant there was fine but nothing special.

I highly recommend One World Cafe. Food in Peoria is bleak. That place is pretty good. It's right near whatever university is in town, so my guess there are at least a few other decent places near there. The hotel is less than a 10 min drive from that restaurant.
posted by reddot at 1:15 AM on January 23, 2013

Best answer: Definitely One World on University and Main (parking is behind it on University, it's ever so slightly awkward to find on your first try). The restaurant attached to the Mark Twain has a salad bar which is nice for lighter lunches.

June, in Peoria Heights, is fresh, organic, seasonal, and local -- and expensive (for Peoria). I actually know several of the farmers who provide food for June. Also in the Heights, 7 on Prospect (good, but the music is loud I think) and Jim's Bistro (great burgers).

Rhythm Kitchen is fun and funky and walkable from the Mark Twain (noisy on music nights but quiet at lunch). Adam's Street Cafe and Cafe 401 are also walkable from there, lunchy places.

You can always hit the Hofbrau for nostalgia's sake. Firehouse does, IMHO, the best Chicago-style pizza in Peoria.

This site can be useful since it lists local places.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:54 AM on January 23, 2013

Response by poster: One World Cafe was my escape last time I was in Peoria, because it has WiFi. I spent hours there every evening. Glad to see it's still open.

Since it sounds like it won't make a lot of difference where I stay, I'll pick Plan B. Thanks for the input.
posted by caryatid at 8:29 AM on January 23, 2013

2nd Mark Twain. Best hotel in Peoria and of course you MUST visit the Hofbrau house!
posted by BrooksCooper at 9:44 AM on January 23, 2013

My parents (Peorians for almost 20 years now) have nothing good to say about the Mark Twain Hotel. YMMV.

I kinda like Thanh Linh (small vietnamese place) next to One World, but don't get too excited.

Love Firehouse, One World.
posted by dd42 at 9:45 AM on January 23, 2013

I have currently lived in Peoria for a little over 5 years, and recently ate at Rhythm Kitchen which Eyebrows McGee mentioned a few posts back. I cannot believe I hadn't been sooner - the food is all made fresh, and literally a different menu every evening. They may even have live music every evening as well? I would highly recommend.
posted by drewski at 1:44 PM on January 24, 2013

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