Route 66 Caravan

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Route 66 Caravan Road Log:
June 19, 2003

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Litchfield, Illinois

Once again the astute Route 66er may notice that we did some backtracking from Springfield to Litchfield. This was necessary because of scheduling but was a fortuitous thing. We used the super-slab past to get to Springfield the other day because we had much to do. Backtracking allowed the Route 66 Caravan to tour Route 66 between Springfield and Litchfield, a pretty nice drive in my book.

The Famous Ariston Cafe

Ariston Cafe in the 1930s
Ariston Cafe circa 1930 - 1940s.

The Ariston has been a favorite for great food since the earliest days of Route 66. In 1924 Pete Adam started a family restaurant and a tradition of fine food that continues to please travelers today. Here we are in the 21st Century and the name Ariston still conjures up images of excellent cuisine and unbelievable desserts. We know, the Route 66 Caravan got a first hand example of this quality.
  In 1924 Pete built his first restaurant in Carlinville, Illinois. With the rerouting of Route 66 Pete knew he needed to go where the highway went so in 1929 he leased some property in Litchfield and built his new restaurant. The original Litchfield restaurant was located across the street from the present location. With the success of his Litchfield restaurant Pete built a new building on the present site in 1935 - and the rest is history.

Ariston Cafe Sign

Ariston Cafe

Demi and Nick Adam still own and operate the Ariston Cafe, and provide the service and quality that Pete started so long ago. Walking into the Ariston is like stepping back to the 1940s. I was so impressed by the Marlin on the back wall. I haven't seen one of those in decades. I remember as a young tike it seems every restaurant had one of those!

Vintage Marlin

Ariston Cafe Enchiladas

I tried an experiment here and ordered a "Mexican" dish. Illinois is not noted for Southwestern Cuisine so I was curious to see what would happen. Unbelievable! Great! I could have been sitting at a cantina in Tucson and not gotten this tasty quality!


Attention to detail is what it's all about. These glasses are by the entrance for those patrons that forgot theirs, like me. You know what? I like this place.

How Handy


Remember Where Good Food is Served
This says it all!


Ariston Roadside Attraction

Nick & Demi Adam

Demi and Nick Adam operate the family business started back in 1924. I know they have done one fantastic job of providing service and quality not often found in this generic world of ours today.


All in the family; three generations of restaurateurs. Maria Storm - daughter, holding Peter, Demi or "grandma" holding Adam, and Nick stand by their new Roadside Attraction sign.

Ariston Cafe is a Family Business


Old Gas Station Sign

This old vintage sign is all that is left of the gas station that once stood across the street from the Ariston Cafe. What is notable is that the gas station stood on the site of the first Litchfield Ariston Cafe!


Ariston Cafe Roadside Attraction


Our Lady of the Highway





Our Lady of the Highway
Traveling Route 66 back to Springfield you will pass this famous highway shrine just south of Waggoner. Route 66 has always had a down side in that some stretches could be particularly dangerous with steep hills, blind curves, and narrow bridges. There's no doubt about it; Route 66 could be a very dangerous road sometimes. The Our Lady 0f the Highway Shrine was placed along Route 66 back in 1959 to remind motorists of the potential dangers and provide a place to say a prayer for a safe journey. You certainly wouldn't find something like this along the Interstate today would you? Today the site is maintained by the Marten family who just so happens to live next door. The shrine is located on the Marten family's farm so it doesn't violate any civil liberties, or separation of church and state, or public expression of faith laws. Yes, our country has changed quite a bit since the days of Route 66 - some for the better and some for the worse.


West 66
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