Metro-East Living

Fayetteville bar and grill: ‘Best food west of the Kaskaskia’

Faye Inn in Fayetteville serves homestyle food in dive setting

The owner calls it a hole in the wall, but the Faye Inn in Fayetteville, Illinois, is where you will find the car club enthusiasts gathered on a weekend for a hearty breakfast or regulars enjoying a meatloaf recipe handed down by grandma.
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The owner calls it a hole in the wall, but the Faye Inn in Fayetteville, Illinois, is where you will find the car club enthusiasts gathered on a weekend for a hearty breakfast or regulars enjoying a meatloaf recipe handed down by grandma.

Bob Scherby openly refers to his Fayetteville bar and grill as a “hole in the wall,” but he’s proud of its home-cooking and friendly service.

“It’s the best food west of the Kaskaskia,” he jokes. The Kaskaskia River is five blocks away.

The Faye Inn is housed in a modest frame building with white siding, black shutters and a faux stone facade. On weekends, customers fill the parking lot with motorcycles and classic cars.

Bob, 66, of Fayetteville, was still working construction when he bought the building in 2007. It had been vacant for two years.

“This was my watering hole, and I thought I’d get it open again and I would find someone to run it for me,” he said.

Bob retired instead. On a recent Monday afternoon, he was sitting at the bar, wearing a Hank Williams T-shirt that read, “I’m a rolling stone on a lost highway.”

Daughter Cheryl Manton works part-time and keeps books for the Faye Inn. Bob is in charge of Friday fish fries, serving up cod, tilapia and jumbo shrimp ($7.50 with two sides).

“Remember Mi Mi’s Fish in Smithton?” he asked. “She helped me get started with the recipes for the breading on the fish and the hush puppies, so I have to keep that a closely guarded secret.”

The Faye Inn also serves burgers with hand-pattied ground beef from Behrmann Meats, barbecue pork steaks from Wenneman Meat Market, pulled pork and other sandwiches.

All the recipes come from my mom and my grandma. Every so often, I’ll get a wild hair and make a pie.

Jackie Gallagher on home-cooking

“Everything’s made from scratch,” said manager Jackie Gallagher, 54, of rural Freeburg. “We don’t buy anything frozen.”

On Tuesdays, Jackie whips up old-fashioned plate lunches, ranging from stuffed green peppers to liver and onions, meat loaf to chicken and dumplings, Salisbury steak to sausage and kraut.

Jackie often cooks on an open fire out back, insisting the food tastes better.

“All the recipes come from my mom and my grandma,” she said. “Every so often, I’ll get a wild hair and make a pie.”

Jackie has been at the Faye Inn for five years. She formerly worked 20 years at the Pie Pantry in Belleville and nine years at her sister-in-law’s restaurant, Gallagher’s Getaway in Freeburg.

Cook and barmaid Lisa Dawson, 35, of Mascoutah, makes fried chicken on Sundays at the Faye Inn. She uses Bob’s breading and serves Jackie’s homemade sides.

“I’ve brought my family down here on Sunday for the chicken dinner, and it is very good,” said Jim Janssen, 71, of Freeburg. “The breading is delicious.”

On this day, Jim was eating lunch with Robert Weber, 83, of Freeburg. They had been cutting firewood. Weber stops by the Faye Inn almost every Tuesday for a plate lunch and every Thursday for a cheeseburger and fries.

The plate lunches are good, and there’s a big helping for the price. If you leave here hungry, it’s your own fault.

Robert Weber on Tuesday specials

“I’m not a fast-food person,” he said. “The plate lunches are good, and there’s a big helping for the price ($6.50 to $7.50). If you leave here hungry, it’s your own fault.”

The Faye Inn also serves tacos on Mondays and full breakfasts Fridays through Sundays, beginning at 6 a.m.

“If I’m working on Saturday morning, I make cinnamon rolls,” Jackie said.

The Faye Inn seats about 75 in a large room with wood paneling, beer signs and a gas fireplace. The L-shaped bar is made of wood from an old New Athens bowling lane. Christmas lights stay up all year.

Bob, a motorcycle rider, has posted several signs that read, “Start Seeing Motorcycles!” The slogan also is on the Facebook page.

“We’re just trying to make people aware of motorcycle safety,” Jackie said.

At a glance

  • What: Faye Inn Bar & Grill
  • Where: 2503 Main Ave. in Fayetteville
  • Kitchen hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
  • Seating: 75 people
  • Jam sessions: Every Tuesday night
  • Carryouts: Yes
  • Handicap-accessible: Yes
  • Information: Call 618-677-2060 or visit Facebook page

On the menu

  • Country Potatoes — American fries, onions, green peppers, ham and scrambled eggs, served with gravy and toast, Friday through Sunday only, $5.75 small or $6.75 small
  • Cheeseburger — Hand-pattied ground beef from Behrmann Meats, $3.50 (additional $2 with fries)
  • Tuesday Plates — Rotates between stuffed green peppers, liver and onions, meat loaf, chicken and dumplings, pork and stuffing, Salisbury steak and other home-cooking, $6.50 to $7.50
  • Friday Fish — Cod, tilapia or jumbo shrimp with two sides (fries, hush puppies, cole slaw, stewed tomatoes, onion rings, potato salad or baked beans), $7.50
  • Sunday Fried Chicken — Fried chicken with owner Bob Scherby’s special breading and two sides, 1 to 7 p.m. Sundays, $6.25 for quarter or $7.25 for half
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