.....The BiKeWriTeR

Hospitality & History

Riding a bicycle cross country makes it easy to stop or veer slightly off course and look at the sights. We’re the people that actually read the historical markers along the side of the highway.

I also find bicyclists are approachable by the locals. The bike is a common denominator, it helps break down barriers, and everybody wants to share the high points of their community.

In Freeport, IL a man with a bicycling background insisted I stop at Union Dairy. “It’s a Freeport tradition since 1914,” said Tim. The Union Dairy on E. Douglas St. was a worthy break. The two-sided diner, with an extra seating in the back, was a throwback to the 1950s with a front counter full of silver fountain-drink mixers surrounded by individual mushroom-size, stools. In the middle of the seating area, waitresses scooped sundaes, ladled hot fudge and squirted a tower of whipped cream on just about everything.

The menu at Union Dairy played off the neighboring historical site that marked the location of the second Lincoln/Douglas debate; a debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas that occurred in 1858 and focused primarily on the issue of slavery.

From the grill there was the Heated Debate – a burger topped with Pepperjack cheese and homemade hot and spicy sauce.

There was also the All Feta Up burger which was made with Feta cheese, black olives, and mustard.

And, of course, the Lincoln/Douglas burger topped with fresh prepared horseradish, Havarti cheese, ketchup and a pickle.

The ice cream portion of the menu featured treats like Dirt Sundae, Mint Melt Away and Razz-A-Mack which was two scoops of Mackinac Island Fudge, red raspberries, whipped cream, pecans and a cherry.

Those gut-busters ran about $5, not counting the Original Holy Cow which featured 12 scoops of ice cream and all toppings for $24.

I think the best recommendation I received was the peppercorn sweet potato fries. Orange and crispy and seasoned with a mix of salt and shavings of sharp peppercorn.

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