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Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards

Monday, Dec 2, 2019

* I almost forgot that today is the kick-off day for our annual awards. We don’t have a lot of time this year because of a late Thanksgiving, so we may need to double up on some days.

Every day until awards season is completed will include a reminder from me to donate to Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. I usually raise money during my annual City Club speech, but I’m not doing that this year so I’m counting on you to help raise money for these fine folks. I’ll match the first $1,000. Please click here to contribute.

Our late, great commenter Wordslinger talked often about his Lutheran upbringing and he was enraged at the way groups like LSSI were stiffed during the impasse. So, I’d ask that you donate not just because of the good works LSSI does, but also in Wordslinger’s memory. Thanks.

* OK, let’s get to our first category…

* Best Springfield political bar

* Best Springfield political restaurant

We usually start with bartenders and waitstaff, but I thought I’d switch it up a bit today.

Remember to explain your nominations because this is more about the intensity of the nominations than the raw numbers. Also, please nominate in both categories. Thanks! And happy holidays!

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Downstate Dave - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 1:28 pm:

    The best Springfield bar is Boone’s Saloon. If you are looking for people who know what is going on across the street, or my friends from AFFI, you can find them at Boone’s!

    The best political restaurant is Maldaner’s because you can have a very good meal, strong drinks, and the company can’t be beat! If you need a good place to have a quiet chat, Maldaner’s is your place to go.

  2. - Norville Rogers - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    Still Browns. Always Browns. New places come and go. New folks come to town and think their hotel bar is the best. Those who’ve been around a while know it’s Browns. There are other great places for sure but in the end it’s still Browns.

  3. - Springfield Restaurant - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    Rookie of The Year Submission:

    Space is roomy. Private Room available. The Owner Mitch is a wildman. Near the Capitol complex

  4. - Guv'nah Bond - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 1:34 pm:

    Bar: Buzz Bomb. Yes, not one usually thought of, but the folks at BB host a bunch of political events and you’ll find staff, lobbyists, and members there on session nights. Also, great beer.

    Restaurant: Vele. Because, via the big windows, you can see all the politicos in there without even going through the door! But if you do go in, great cocktails and awesome food.

  5. - HorseingAround - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 1:45 pm:

    Boone’s Saloon for both bar and restaurant.

    1. Close enough to walk from the Capitol.
    2. Cheap food and drink
    3. The food is better then the typical bar food from other places
    4. Most of the staff is friendly
    5. Beer Garden is nice during the summer

    All these reasons and others I can’t think of at the moment are why Boone’s is so popular with the staffers and various lobbyists.

  6. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    The best political restaurant: Cafe Moxo. Just sit there on a session morning between 7-10 AM. You will see a parade of staffers, lawmakers, lobbyists and people working in and at the Statehouse. They don’t just pop in, there are lots of meetings that take place there between 1-2 people and groups preparing for a day at the Statehouse. And the food is great.

    Bar: Boones, just don’t expect to always find a seat.

  7. - A Young Person - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    Bar: Brown’s. Shuffleboard and wall-shaking train noise. What’s not to like.

    Restaurant: I don’t know, man. Let’s say Saputo’s.

  8. - 47th Ward - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    ===just don’t expect to always find a seat.===

    “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

  9. - A State Employee Guy - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    Boone’s, both categories, now and forever. Also: Boones has the best horseshoes in town. Don’t @ me.

  10. - Rod - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 1:59 pm:

    Now that I am not a registered lobbyist anymore in Springfield having retired it is not a critical issue of concern anymore. But I would suggest that any political bar in Springfield today should post a notice on the door indicating all recording devises are prohibited, not that the FBI would agree to that provision, but it might make the patrons more relaxed.

  11. - Annonin - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 2:01 pm:

    Looks like DH Brown staff is votin; fast and furious. GovJunk should have had them on his staff?
    We prefer to vote for places we don’t visit to keep the Capt Fax posse out of the cool places
    Best Bar: How about the grill at the ‘Mo where the beer can be brewed faster than it gets poured.
    Best Restaurant: Nu Voh. Actually a nice place with the worst accoustics ever.

  12. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 2:13 pm:

    Love Boone’s Saloon, but in fairness to this summers Cancelled entertainers; some commentators may take offense to Boone’s confederate black and blue and rebel chicken Caesar salad menu offings.

  13. - Horseshoe Voter - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 2:21 pm:

    I second the votes for Moxo and Buzz Bomb, which together with former legislative staffer John Combs’ Elf Shelf, make up “The Adams Family” of small businesses. They all give a sense of community. They know your name, both politician and commoner alike.

    Boone’s doesn’t get my vote or my business until they get rid of their confederate-themed menu.

  14. - Springfield Restaurant - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 2:25 pm:

    I had forgotten to submit the name with my above submission.

    Nu Voh.

    For reasons stated above. Thank you, Editors.

  15. - Some Anonymous Dude (S.A.D.) - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 2:37 pm:

    Boone’s. It’s an institution and at some point or another, everyone you’re going to need to talk to comes through there. As for restaurant, it would be Saputo’s for the same reason.

  16. - A State Employee Guy - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    “Boone’s doesn’t get my vote or my business until they get rid of their confederate-themed menu.”

    Um, there are maybe 2 items on the menu that fit that description. The rest are Old West themed. There is a difference, you know.

  17. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 2:46 pm:

    ===maybe 2 items on the menu===


    There’s the Confederate Black & Bleu Salad, for one. Maybe? lol

    Also, don’t forget the Rebel Chicken Caesar Salad and The Old South Chicken Salad.


    “Maybe.” You’re hilarious.

  18. - Boomerang - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 3:02 pm:

    Political bar: Used to be the State House Inn for a pre-dinner drink or a night cap with a pol. The owners kinda screwed that up. New vote: JP Kelly’s is pretty solid if you want to get that convo in.
    Political restaurant: seems like Vele is the go-to for the people watching and great food.

  19. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 3:03 pm:

    Rich. You seem a bit ornery today. Did you spend too much time with my grandkids over the holidays.?

  20. - Joe Bidenopolous - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 3:11 pm:

    ==Boone’s doesn’t get my vote or my business until they get rid of their confederate-themed menu.==


    Restaurant - Saputo’s - still the place to see and be seen

    Bar - Call me crazy, but I kinda dig the Gin Mill. Good drinks, good selections, and usually good political company

  21. - NorthsideNoMore - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 3:44 pm:

    Butternut Hut for bar Boone a close second. As for food Nu Voh of late but still fall back to Aleaxnders for steak.

  22. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 3:52 pm:

    Maybe I’m old fashioned, but so many interesting stories start out, “so I was at the Globe and…” Don’t love the place but so much happens there during session days.

    Restaurant? Again, not a fan but Saputo’s is where folks hang out more than anywhere else. But again, these aren’t restaurant reviews.

  23. - Boone's is Back - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 3:54 pm:

    Boone’s! Because well my name and it’s back.

  24. - MakePoliticsCoolAgain - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 4:08 pm:

    Best Political Bar- Saputo’s. Not that Saputo’s is my favorite spot in town, but if you are in need of a scoop, the bar always has a knowledgeable crowd.

    Best restaurant - no restaurant that put in a slip against the minimum wage increase should be considered for this category (Obed & Issac’s, Loukinens’ on 4th, VELE). My vote is for the Sangamo Club - the food keeps getting better and their famous fried chicken is now permanently on the menu.

  25. - 47th Ward - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 4:08 pm:

    ===these aren’t restaurant reviews===

    That’s for sure. When the local delicacy is the horseshoe, you know you aren’t visiting a foodie town.

  26. - R A T - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 4:21 pm:

    Bar: Buzz Bomb
    great environment for being relaxed and honest

    Food: Obed and Isaac’s patio
    liking that pizza and the kid that is always cooking is cool

  27. - Annonin - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 4:24 pm:

    Apparently mr/ms makecool is part of a Russian troll farm. Food at the ‘MO has been sliding downhill for years.

  28. - MakePoliticsCoolAgain - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 4:35 pm:

    ===Apparently mr/ms makecool===

    Annonin - Clever and creative name there.

    But clearly you haven’t been to the Mo recently, since their new executive chef has stepped up and produced some great menu items, including a made-to-order breakfast menu on Mondays.

  29. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 4:44 pm:

    MPCA, he’s been there, but not to eat.

  30. - Da Lobsta - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 5:02 pm:

    Bar: Buzz Bomb.

    Restaurant: Vele.

    Both offer Chicago quality at Springfield prices. Both attract politicos.

  31. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 5:13 pm:

    ===these aren’t restaurant reviews===

    I have to keep that in mind every year because I gotta tell you that I have some real issues with the service and the food at some of these nominated places.

    I mean, I won’t mention names, but it is mind-boggling to me that one oft-nominated restaurant can’t EVER bring everyone’s food out at approximately the same time, or that they’d deliver a dessert BEFORE the main course.

    Then there is the restaurant that actually reached out to me to try out their food when it opened. I was delighted to try it and thought the food was bad. REALLY bad. So I tried it again at the insistence of friends and it was just as horrid.

    And then there’s the place with an owner who testified to a legislative committee during the minimum wage debate that she keeps her place open late for legislators when she actually kicks people out by TURNING ON THE LIGHTS AND VACUUMING at 10 o’clock. I kid you not. While customers are still finishing up. Ridic.


    “These aren’t restaurant reviews,” he said to himself again and again and again and…

  32. - ILLannoyed - Monday, Dec 2, 19 @ 5:50 pm:

    Bar: JP Kelley’s. Always an event and their staff is so hands on. Never a bad time to visit.
    Restaurant: gotta be saputos. Remember goin there in my college days and asking for the Madigan booth. The wink and the side eye before the proclamation it doesn’t exist sure fooled me

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Pritzker thanks Dr. Ezike, extends financial protections, points to progress, says no more daily COVID-19 briefings - Calls Trump tweets "reprehensible" - "I want to send my condolences to the family of George Floyd, and also to every African American in this country" - Defends budget decisions - Credits Illinoisans for progress against virus - No bill signing ceremonies - Hopes testing progress continues - "It seems as if President Trump is withdrawing us from the rest of the world" - No out of state travel plans - Talks contact tracing - Asks Illinoisans to be careful during reopening - Will sign Medicare for undocumented seniors bill - Refuses to criticize Lightfoot for Trump comments - Talks about difficulties in securing testing locations - Dr. Ezike and Pritzker respond to question about what they've learned about themselves and leadership - "We're no longer in a stay at home order"
* 1,622 new cases, 86 additional deaths
* *** UPDATED x1 *** What in the heck is going on in Rockford?
* COVID-19 roundup
* All metro areas reporting record high unemployment rates
* School seclusion and restraint bill derailed after opposition
* Attorney DeVore asks appellate court to dissolve another TRO
* Question of the day
* Madigan issues new guidance to members, staff
* Architects abandon alternative reopening plan
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* House of worship attendance limit expected to be removed from stay at home order
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* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Sheriffs file suit against state for refusing to accept jail transfers
* Pritzker says IDPH has offered "suggestions" to churches - Says he's received "pushback" from some private nursing homes - IDPH will file new rule on nursing homes - Still looking at what to do about IDPH rule - Dodges question about Willie Wilson - Employers should use "common decency" when bring workers back - Will wait on feds before making any more budget decisions - Central Illinois hospitalization numbers improve - "We might potentially have to move backwards in the phases - "Not our intention" to make changes to Phase 4 guidance - No plans to dine at restaurant this weekend - No decision about ending daily briefing - Repeats that he has never encouraged police enforcement - Suggests GOP demand for IDES audit could be a "political move" - Still pondering school reopening - All testing is free - Asked about dangers of Legionella in large buildings - Testing and tracing metrics are "internal goals" - Points to federal rules on unemployment and workers who refuse to return - "Difficult for us to open theaters in the near future" - Dr. Ezike talks rules for malls - Dr. Ezike monitoring outbreak at county jail with ICE detainees
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