Fried Green Tomatoes: Destination Dining at Its Finest in Galena

There’s a good reason this spot on Galena’s Main Street has been a hopping attraction for nearly three decades. And the tomatoes are just the start.

You just know a restaurant is going to be special when its name alone makes you break into a wide smile.

Fried Green Tomatoes is an iconic restaurant located at 213 N. Main St., in Galena. This restaurant has been a tradition and must-stop for loyal customers and new friends who are drawn to dine out in this unique corner of northwest Illinois.

For the past 28 years, owner Fred Bonnet has created a delicious and satisfying menu while meticulously retaining the history and vintage character of the building in which Fried Green Tomatoes is housed.

Its history dates back to 1854, when General Ulysses S. Grant’s father, Jesse R. Grant, owned the Leather and Finding Store in the building. The building has gone through many transformations since then, but Bonnet has left the interior brick exposed and the patterns on the walls, reproducing them elsewhere in the restaurant to add to its unique atmosphere and mystique.

The restaurant’s menu is filled with American favorites, such as USDA steaks, mile-high meatloaf and fresh sea scallops, just to name a few.

In addition, there is also a wide variety of Italian comfort food like homemade lasagna, lobster ravioli, and linguine and meatballs, all perfected with a house red sauce.

“We are proud to offer the next level of what’s fresh, exciting and local,” says Bonnet. “We have found great suppliers and food co-ops for harvesting our microgreens and fresh asparagus. Adapting to our guests’ needs, we now have added vegan and gluten-free items to our menu. It is always our goal to make our guests’ experience enjoyable. Our steaks are second to none and our service is No. 1.”

There are a number of delicious menu starters, such as the steak martini, classic shrimp cocktail, sweet chili shrimp, crab cakes and pesto bruschetta.

Let’s not forget one of the main attractions, though: the signature fried green tomatoes. They’re specially prepared, breaded, lightly fried in olive oil and topped with cheese and marinara sauce. And, yes, they are a big hit.

“Our fried green tomatoes are very popular,” says Bonnet, “and we serve nearly 200 pounds of them per week.”

The bar serves up a good selection of beers, while the extensive wine list, served by glass or bottle, is carefully curated.

“Wine is my passion,” says Bonnet, “and the blends are my favorites.”

With all of the fresh and tempting dining and beverage choices, it should come as little surprise that Fried Green Tomatoes has been recognized every year since 2003 with the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Furthermore, Fried Green Tomatoes won the Diners Choice Open Table Award in 2019.

With tourism a big part of the Galena area, Fried Green Tomatoes has its own colorful and comfortable Executive Shuttle Bus, which picks up guests at their resorts and returns them after dinner.

Fried Green Tomatoes can also accommodate large parties and tour groups with advance reservations. The restaurant is a multi-level facility, but due to its historic nature, the building does not have an elevator.

Fried Green Tomatoes is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday at 4 p.m. It’s closed Mondays.