10 Delicious Restaurants Near the Shawnee National Forest

I’m always looking for restaurants near the Shawnee National Forest.

I want something unique, different from the rest, and tasty! I don’t want the same ole fast food burger that’s 90% greasy and a heart attack waiting to happen.

Besides, after hiking the rugged trails of the Shawnee National Forest, you know as well as I know it’s time to put some good carbs back into the body.

These are some of my favorite restaurants near the Shawnee National Forest. It’s definitely not all of the best ones, but there are a few here.


10 Great Restaurants Near the Shawnee National Forest

Let’s take a look at some of the most delicious restaurants near the Shawnee National Forest that you need to visit after your next hike.

1 – Mase’s Place near Little Grand Canyon

Mase’s Place is a seasonal dining establishment, but it’s worth waiting for those doors to open during the peak of spring, summer, and fall hiking.

We loved eating the Pub Pickles as our appetizer. Mase’s Big Ass Burger was delicious, and the seasoned French fries definitely hit the spot.

This place is easy to reach—it’s right down the road from Little Grand Canyon. Here is a Google Maps Link to Mase’s Place.

If you’re looking for a place to hike nearby, I definitely recommend Little Grand Canyon for a more strenuous hike or Pomona Natural Bridge for an easier hike.

2 – Whiffle Boy’s Pizza near Ferne Clyffe State Park

Whiffle Boy’s Pizza is on our top five local pizza joints list for many reasons. It’s a local chain pizza place, but it’s still local and unique.

When we go, we love getting a thin-crust pepperoni pizza and an order of cheese sticks with marinara and garlic dipping sauce. They also have some of the best Sweet Tea around!

Getting to Whiffle Boy’s Pizza is pretty straightforward. It’s in Goreville and right down the road from Ferne Clyffe State Park. Here is a Google Maps Link to it.

If you’re looking for a lot of trails for people of all ages, waterfalls, rock climbing, and fishing, then check out our Ferne Clyffe State Park nearby. If you want a secluded hiking experience with a spectacular waterfall, go to Bork Falls.

Whiffle Boy's Pizza

3 – Vienna Diner near Tunnel Hill State Trail

Vienna Diner is one of the best places to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the bicycling capital of Illinois, Vienna.

We mainly go for breakfast. I love getting the Hash stack with cinnamon toast bread. We also thoroughly enjoy their pizza. We go so much in the mornings that they don’t even give us menus because they know what we want.

Vienna Diner is very easy to find. It’s down the road from Tunnel Hill State Trail. Check out this Google Maps Link to easily find it.

If you’re looking for some cycling fun, I recommend checking out the Tunnel Hill State Trail. The most scenic route is Vienna to Tunnel Hill and back. If you would rather go for a hike, enjoy a stroll at Heron Pond Preserve.

4 – Martel’s Pizza near Kinkaid Lake

Martel’s Pizza looks like a hole in the wall based on what the building looks like, but their pizza is the best pizza on the west side of the Shawnee National Forest.

When we go, we get the thin-crust pepperoni pizza and cheese bread. They usually bring out a free appetizer, too. It’s our go-to pizza joint when hiking the west side of the Shawnee.

Martel’s Pizza is easy to find. It’s right in town in Murphysboro, down from the Big Muddy Monster statue. Check out these Google Maps Links for directions.

If you’re looking for a good hike nearby, check out Kinkaid Lake for all your hiking and kayaking needs. You can find easier trails at Lake Murphysboro.

Martel's Pizza

5 – Shotgun Eddy’s near Bell Smith Springs

Everyone loves Shotgun Eddy’s because what is there not to love? It’s in the heart of some of the best hiking in the Shawnee National Forest.

We go for breakfast and lunch. We usually get the Traditional Shotgun Breakfast in the morning, and I love getting the Mushroom Swiss Burger during lunch or dinner.

Shotgun Eddy’s is the only business around, so it’s really easy to get to. Plus, they have one of those fancy signs that light up and have moving words on them. But here’s a Google Maps Link to their establishment, anyway.

There is a lot to do nearby to this great restaurant. You have Bell Smith Springs, Jackson Falls, Burden Falls, and Indian Kitchen. Enjoy Haye’s Canyon and Bear Branch Horse Campgrounds.

Restaurants Near the Shawnee National Forest

6 – Mackie’s Pizza near Glen O. Jones Lake

Mackie’s Pizza is our number-one favorite pizza place ever. Michelle and I have spent most of our first dates dining over their awesome pizza.

When we go, we get the thin-crusted pepperoni pizza. We also get an order of the cheese bread and dipping sauce. Their sauce is sweet if you’re into that kind of pizza sauce.

Mackie’s is located in the heart of Harrisburg, the Gateway to the Shawnee National Forest. Here are Google Maps Links for directions.

There is a lot to do near Mackie’s. You can enjoy hiking, biking, camping, and kayaking at Glen O. Jones Lake. You can also visit Old Stoneface and Garden of the Gods, which are also close by.

Mackie's Pizza

7 – Super City Bar and Grill near Fort Massac State Park

Super City Bar and Grill is tucked away in Metropolis, making it a hidden gem of a restaurant.

We go there for their pizza. They have a unique-tasting pizza that I think tastes good even when you heat it up for leftovers. My stepdaughter gets their loaded fries and chicken wraps. They have great sweet tea, too.

Super City Bar and Grill, like I said, is tucked away from everything else, but it is close to Interstate 24. Here’s a Google Maps Link with directions to this fine dining establishment.

If you’re looking for a great place to check out the Ohio River or go for a bike ride, Fort Massac State Park is an excellent spot. It’s also the first state park in Illinois.

8 – Diver Down near Dixon Springs State Park

Diver Down is a place you just have to visit. This is one of those restaurants near the Shawnee National Forest that should be on your bucket list.

When we go, we get the same thing every time. We get pepper jack triangles for our appetizer. Michelle gets a regular burger and fries. I get the Mushroom Swiss Burger and fries or the fried mushrooms. The fried mushrooms are about as large as your fist! Diver Down, hands down, is the best cheeseburger I’ve ever had in my life.

Luckily, getting to Diver Down gives you a chance to drive through Downtown Golconda, which is beautiful. The riverfront isn’t that far away, either, and it’s worth a drive-through. Here is a Google Maps Link to Diver Down.

There are a lot of great recreational opportunities nearby. Dixon Springs State Park has great hiking and designated mountain biking trails. Lake Glendale can be accessed from the hiking and biking trails, too.

Diver Down

9 – Kaylor’s Lodge near Cave-in-Rock State Park

Kaylor’s Lodge is where you want to eat for breakfast and dinner when in Cave-in-Rock country. It’s a must stop on the restaurants near the Shawnee National Forest list.

We loved their breakfast and lunch. I especially enjoyed their lunch menu. They have a really good Mushroom Swiss Burger which I enjoy the best out of all the burgers. Michelle enjoys their regular cheeseburger. They do a breakfast buffet, too!

Getting to Kaylor’s Lodge is fairly easy. It’s inside Cave-in-Rock State Park. Here is a Google Maps Link with directions to the lodge.

I recommend Cave-in-Rock State Park for hiking nearby. You can also drive up the road to enjoy Rim Rock National Recreation Trail and go for a swim at Pounds Hollow Beach.

10 – Giant City Lodge near Giant City State Park

There are so many reasons why Giant City Lodge deserves a spot on this restaurant near the Shawnee National Forest list. They have the best-fried chicken around (multiple sources), and the CCC built the lodge during the creation of the state park.

I haven’t had their chicken, but I’m not a big bone-in chicken eater. We ate their breakfast, and it was really good and really affordable. They have a cool dining lodge and even a neat gift shop. It’s like a local version of Cracker Barrel.

Getting to Giant City Lodge is very easy. The Lodge sits in the heart of Giant City State Park. Here is a Google Maps Link showing you how to reach the lodge.

There are many great trails nearby, too. You can hike all over Giant City State Park. There is a 12-mile Backpacking Loop called Red Cedar Trail, and there are even designated mountain bike trails at Touch of Nature.

Final Thoughts About Restaurants near the Shawnee National Forest

These are just a few of the best restaurants near the Shawnee National Forest. I definitely don’t want any restaurant to feel left out. Please feel free to comment with other great places to eat, and I’ll definitely include them in future articles.

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And until next time, I’ll see you on the trail.

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Thanks again for checking out another one of my articles and until next time, I’ll see you on the trail!

Shawn Gossman

Shawn Gossman

Founder, Hiking with Shawn

Howdy folks! My name is Shawn Gossman and I founded Hiking with Shawn. I’m an avid hiker, cyclist and outdoorsman here in the Shawnee National Forest. I was born and raised in Southern Illinois and never want to leave. Click here to learn more about Shawn Gossman

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