Longtime roadie Dave Hoekstra of the Chicago Sun-Times takes a closer look at the restored and historic Palms Grill Cafe on old Route 66 in Atlanta, Ill.
Apparently the restaurant, in addition to its old-time atmosphere, is making a name for itself because of its pies. And an Albanian immigrant named Lumi Bektoshi, who is working in the restaurant’s kitchen, deserves a lot of the credit.
And here is where my favorite travel story of the year begins: Lumi’s pies became the grill’s most popular item. So Thomas thought it would be fun to enter Lumi’s pies in a competition at this year’s Illinois State Fair.
Lumi had never heard of a state fair. She only started baking pies in April. Even so, Lumi wound up winning a first-place blue ribbon for her peach pie, a first-place blue ribbon for her apple pie and a third-place ribbon for her black raspberry. […]
The Palms Grill reopened in April. Since then, Lumi has mastered apple, pecan, cherry, rhubarb, black raspberry, blueberry, gooseberry, pumpkin and sour cream raisin pies. […]
Lumi’s favorite is her peach pie. Black raspberry and peach are the best sellers ($2.95 for an ample slice).
It sounds as though the Palms may be getting a reputation that will eventually match other highly regarded Route 66 pie palaces, such as the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, Texas, and A Slice of Pie in Rolla, Mo.