Back March 10, 2021
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Urban farmhouse kitchen on the Mississippi River | Circa 1888

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An urban farmhouse kitchen in historic downtown Savanna

Circa 1888 opened its doors in 2018 and has been a popular staple for gourmet dining with a modern culinary twist. Savanna mayor, Chris Lain, and husband, Jube, own the historic building. At the time, they already owned The Savanna Marketplace and Ecology Inn down the street. When this building became available for purchase, they took a leap and purchased it with an idea for a farmhouse kitchen. With neither of them ever being in the restaurant business before this, they weren’t sure where they were heading. Fortunately, their business and creative direction backgrounds gave them the confidence to go full speed ahead.

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The building wasn’t in great shape upon purchase with a few leaks and floors that needed refinishing, as well as a full kitchen install. Their vision came to life as they started the renovation. Chris and Jube preserved the building’s original features–exposed the brick walls, ornate ceiling tiles, vintage molding, and original floors.

Upon walking in the door, the natural light from the giant front windows beams off the historic brick walls. The walls display local and fun artwork, the gathering tables offer plenty of seating, the homemade bar made out of old doors makes a perfect spot for ordering a specialty cocktail. The specialty drinks rotate along with the menu options ensuring a new item to try each time you return.

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The patio is an added bonus 

The building’s interior is beautiful but Circa 1888 has a unique feature, unlike other restaurants downtown, with an outdoor patio overlooking the Mississippi River. The beautiful patio features multiple tables with stunning views of the river. It’s a place where friends and families can gather together in a casual atmosphere- indoors or outside on the patio.

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The unique menu allows a fun culinary visit

The menu is diverse and full of homemade dishes with modern twists. Shrimp Poutine (Wisconsin cheese curds, fries, and Cajun Cream Sauce) and Thai Chicken Flatbread with Peanut Sauce are just two mouth-watering choices. Circa 1888 also offers gluten-free options for a majority of the menu. The menu selection rotates, but the most requested dishes remain–chicken wings, the classic Cubano sandwich, grass-fed burgers, and steak dinners.

We sat down and had a hard time choosing – everything looked incredible! We started by ordering the Goat Cheese Croquettes with a mango chutney dipping sauce. They were unbelievably good. We moved on to a 100% grass-fed beef burger and Sirloin Steak for our main course. The burgers are sourced from local Wisconsin-raised and processed beef and served to your liking on a brioche bun, topped with your choice of fixings. Our meals arrived expertly presented on our plates. Both the burger and sirloins were cooked perfectly with fresh vegetables and a loaded baked potato on the side.


Don’t skip dessert

Dessert is my weakness. I’ll take half of my food home for leftovers before skipping an excellent dessert menu. This evening’s menu featured cheesecake with sour cream topping, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, lemon cake with baked fruits, and chocolate pots de creme. How do you choose? So as anyone would do, we decided on three different desserts to take home with us. Each one was equally amazing.

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Enjoy a walk around Savanna after dinner

Savanna is full of history, live entertainment, local dives, and eccentric shops and restaurants to choose from for your exploration. Take a stroll on their historic Main Street to shop and admire the buildings dating back to the 1800s. You’re probably hungry by now, so I won’t keep you any longer. Make a trip to Savanna and dine at Circa 1888 for a fantastic meal.

Contact information

Circa 1888
305 Main Street
Savanna, IL 61074
(815) 565-7294



Hours may change seasonally.

Thursday: 4:00PM – 8:00PM
Friday: Noon – 8:00PM
Saturday: 11:00AM – 9:00PM
Sunday: 11:00AM – 7:00PM

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