Back March 10, 2021
Travel Blog

Urban farmhouse kitchen on the Mississippi River | Circa 1888

bwcvb 1888 staff 1200

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.

bwcvb 1888 interior 1200

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.

bwcvb 1888 patio 1200

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.

bwcvb 1888 menu 1200

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.

bwcvb 1888 downtown 1200

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

This Father's Day, create special moments in NW Illinois. 𝗦𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗲 your adventures with us using #𝗙𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗗𝗮𝘆𝗜𝗻𝗡𝗪𝗜𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗼𝗶𝘀!"

#VisitNWillinois #middleofeverything #enjoyillinois
Nothing beats freshly brewed coffee, locally made macaroons, or an iced drink on a hot Friday morning! ☕️✨ Check out @CoffeeCrushDixon for a cozy start to your day. 👉👉 𝗕𝗢𝗡𝗨𝗦: The annual nesting of Mama Duck on the property provided 16 ducklings this year! 

#LocalSpotlight #CoffeeLove #VisitNWillinois #middleofeverything #enjoyillinois #leecountyIL #discoverdixon #SupportLocal #CaféCulture #MorningBoost #NWILCoffee @discoverdixon @visitleecountyil @thenoblecakery
Here's a sneak peek of what's coming up this weekend in #NWillinois! Lots of art and music, plus a carnival to keep everyone happy. Go to our EVENTS CALENDAR at bio link for a complete listing of things to do.

#VisitNWillinois #middleofeverything @enjoyillinois #enjoyillinois @visitleecountyil @discoverdixon
Bring the kids to #FultonIL to see the amazing De Immigrant Windmill and explore Wierenga’s Heritage Canyon. History and heritage, NW Illinois has it all. 🌾🪨

 #VisitNWIllinois @VisitFulton @enjoyillinois #middleofeverything
It's #roadtrip adventure in 𝗪𝗵𝗶𝘁𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝘆! 🚗 Whether it's an invigorating paddle on the 𝗛𝗲𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗽𝗶𝗻 𝗖𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗹 🛶, finding antique treasures at 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘄𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗔𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗾𝘂𝗲𝘀 & 𝗧𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲𝘀🏺, hitting the 𝗚𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁 𝗥𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗕𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗹 all around #FultonIL 🚴‍♂️, or avoiding singed eyebrows when ordering the Forest Inn Restaurant & Lounge's Saganaki 🔥. #OPA! 🎉

#visitNWillinois #enjoyillinois #middleofeverything @visitrockfalls  @sterlingmainstreet  @visitfulton @enjoyillinois #whitesidecountyIL #paddling #SterlingIL #RockfallsIL
Let's show some #MidweekLove 🥰 in NW Illinois!  This week, tap into the beauty of art at the "𝗪𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝗢𝗽𝗲𝗻 𝗦𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗲𝘀 𝗔𝗿𝘁 𝗘𝘅𝗵𝗶𝗯𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻" opening June 11, or groove to the timeless tunes of 𝗙𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗦𝗼𝗻𝘀, the ultimate CCR tribute band on June 12. Then, dive into the hometown charm of 𝗣𝗼𝗹𝗼 𝗧𝗼𝘄𝗻 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗿𝘆 𝗗𝗮𝘆𝘀  June 12-16, and wrap up with soulful beats at the 𝗦𝘂𝗺𝗺𝗲𝗿 𝗦𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝗖��𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗿𝘁 𝗦𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀  in Dixon on June 13. Don't miss out on these midweek gems! READ ABOUT the events 
 at EVENTS link found at bio link. 

#VisitNWIllinois #MidweekEvents #middleofeverything #enjoyillinois @whitepines_resort  @tnps_dixon #DixonMunicipalBand  #PoloTownandCountryDays @enjoyillinois
Watch our latest reel for a sneak peek of the 𝟴 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗮𝗰𝘂𝗹𝗮𝗿 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 occurring on Sat., June 8. 🎶🍔 Whether you're into music, food, or outdoor fun, there's an event with your name on it!! 

#VisitNWIllinois #middleofeverything #enjoyillinois #LocalFun #SummerVibes @visitrockfalls @discoverdixon @visitleecountyil @visitcarrollcounty @explore_oregon_il @johndeere @enjoyillinois
Ready to soak up some sunshine & good vibes? Check out our latest blog on the amazing 𝗙𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗮𝗹𝘀 & 𝗙𝗮𝗶𝗿𝘀 happening this summer in NW Illinois! From toe-tapping music festivals to mouth-watering food fairs, here's a guide to making your summer unforgettable. 

#VisitNWIllinois #SummerFun #FestivalsAndFairs #LocalEvents #GoodTimes #ExploreLocal #middleofeverything @enjoyillinois #roadtrip #carnivals #kidfriendly


Request a free copy or view our latest guide online.


Ideas and resources to help plan your next real getaway in NW Illinois.