Meadows Avenue Tap provides a welcome alternative

Meadows Avenue Tap, located at 2000 Meadows Ave. in East Peoria, gets students off campus while also providing food and a sports bar atmosphere. Photo by Kyle Stone.

Do you like wings, beer, sports and a noise level where it’s possible to actually hear your friends speaking? Look no further than Meadows Avenue Tap.

Established in 1971 under the name Bill and Mary’s, the bar and grill originally catered to Caterpillar’s bustling Peoria workforce. Now called Meadows Avenue Tap, Peoria native Rich Gabbert has owned the business since 2006.

Located at 2000 Meadows Avenue in East Peoria, Gabbert said his main goal is to provide a great dining, drinking, and gaming experience to customers of a wide variety of backgrounds. Meadows features 12 flat screen TVs, seven pool tables (which all cost 75 cents or under to use), a mini arcade and darts.

Meadows Avenue Tap, located at 2000 Meadows Ave. in East Peoria, gets students off campus while also providing food and a sports bar atmosphere. Photo by Kyle Stone.
Meadows Avenue Tap, located at 2000 Meadows Ave. in East Peoria, gets students off campus while also
providing food and a sports bar atmosphere. Photo by Kyle Stone.

“I’ve never really classified the restaurant as being any one thing because I want to be for everybody,” Gabbert said.

Gabbert said he examined the success of other popular bars to determine what he could do to enhance customer experience.

“Looking at a place like Buffalo Wild Wings, it’s all the TVs that everybody loves,” Gabbert said. “I’ve tried to add as many as I can.”

Gabbert also said he’s looking to develop a more sports friendly atmosphere.

“People seem to be going [to bars] for the sports,” Gabbert said. “That’s what I’ve been trying to do.”

Conducive to developing a sports-friendly atmosphere, Meadows features a 50-cent wing deal on Mondays, which some Bradley students have started to notice.

Seniors David Hynek, Keegan Thacher and Bob Rice remained speechless until they finished devouring their wings.

“The wings are good sized, and the flavor is great,” Rice, a health science major, said. “A plate of 10 wings and a side of fries for less than $7 isn’t something you can find most places.”

Gabbert explained the food at Meadows has been drawing in crowds.

“The food has really taken off for me the past three years,” Gabbert said. “It’s just getting better and better.”

While Gabbert said he hasn’t historically considered reaching out to Bradley’s campus, he identified some key advantages to making a stop at Meadows as opposed to bars typically more frequented by Bradley students. One advantage is the quality of service.

“You get there and you’re going to be [waiting] 30 or 40 minutes to get your little basket [of wings].” Gabbert said. “People come away [from Meadows] with the feeling that they’ve had good service and good food.”

Meadows features a different food special every night of the week, which range from 75-cent tacos on Thursdays to $7 tenderloin and fries basket on Fridays.

To see a full menu, including drinks, visit meadowstap.com.