Haddad’s: Peoria’s Hidden Treasure

When one thinks of Central Illinois, I’m sure “falafel” isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind.

Peoria houses one of the best and most authentic Mediterranean restaurants I’ve ever had the pleasure of walking into. Haddad’s is a local business that sits tucked away across from the McDonald’s on Main Street.

From the outside it looks like a hole in the wall place, with just four tables and a counter; however, on the inside you are greeted by some of the most pleasant people in town. Tony and Loreece Haddad came to America in 1977. They have had trouble with the language from the beginning and decided to go into the food business.

“At first we were selling food at the Coliseum, just sandwiches here and there.” Rita Speck said, daughter of Tony and Loreece. “Then we opened up a food cart outside of the courthouse downtown. There was a calling for our kind of food, and people were interested in it.”

From there, the family opened up a restaurant downtown that does full catering, as well as opening up a small spot on top of the hill. They also have a small food market. Speck runs business downtown and the Haddad’s stay on the hill to run their shop on Main Street.

With Haddad’s being so close to Bradley’s campus, it’s something every student should experience at least once in their time in Peoria. It’s not too expensive, with prices ranging up to $15.

I recommend the falafel platter. Everything is made fresh and on the spot. This order will leave you with leftovers for days, and you can enjoy good company while you wait for your food.

“My dad is the sweetest,” Speck said. “When you come in he’ll treat you like a grandchild, it’s great.”

How can anyone go wrong with fresh hummus, great service and even better Lebanese coffee?