Bill and Lynne Cummins of Washington have been restaurateurs since 1984. During that time, the couple has operated Cummins Restaurant in four locations: N. Knoxville St. and Pioneer Parkway in Peoria, 1869 Washington Road in Washington and, most recently, at 400 Riverside in East Peoria. For a time, they also owned The Galley Restaurant in East Peoria and Metamora establishment currently known as The Flame Family Restaurant.

The Cummins’ opened their East Peoria restaurant after 11 years at their Washington location. The East Peoria Chamber of Commerce celebrated the occasion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 29. 

“We loved our Washington location,” said Lynne Cummins. “We loved the town, and we loved the loyalty of our customers. The loyal customers are the reason we stayed there for 11 years.”

The couple had been looking at the new location for their restaurant for nearly a year, Lynne said. They wanted to be closer to a business district, in order to take advantage of its hustle and bustle, which they hoped would translate into more customers, which in turn could result in more revenue.

“The new restaurant offers more parking and more visibility to the public than the Washington location did,” said Lynne. “I also love the layout of the new restaurant. The Washington location had three separate rooms, so I couldn’t see everybody at the same time. This site has one big room, and I can see the whole restaurant. I can see when somebody needs something right away, and I can see where the servers are.”

At the Washington location, Cummins Restaurant catered largely to senior citizens and early-morning golfers from nearby Hillcrest Golf Center. Lynne said she believes that the new location will allow the restaurant to expand its customer base while retaining many of the regulars who frequented the previous site.

“We still get a lot of seniors here,” said Lynne. “But we also get business people from downtown East Peoria and downtown Peoria. We get a lot of city of East Peoria business, including people from City Hall, and the police and fire departments. We get workers from Caterpillar and FedEx, and a lot of people who work in the businesses around her stop in for breakfast before they go to work.” 

The owners of Cummins Restaurant have always liked to offer their customers a relaxed, informal atmosphere, friendly service, and home-style meals. That combination has earned the loyalty of regular customers like Julie and Terry Parlier of East Peoria.

“We’ve actually been coming to Bill and Lynne’s restaurants for 15 years, since they owned The Galley,” said Julie Parlier. “When they went to Washington, we followed them there. We’re thrilled that they’ve opened their latest location closer to where we live.”

“We love the atmosphere they provide,” Terry added. “It’s clean, we like the food and the friendly service, and it’s a great place to socialize.”

Specialties of Cummins Restaurant include homemade tenderloins, tuna salads, chicken salads, and jumbo shrimp. New menu items include reubens, fish sandwiches, ribeye steak sandwiches, and the Cummins Combo; an appetizer sampler that consists of potato skins, cheese sticks, cheddar cheese balls and fried pickles.

“Everything we do is homemade whenever possible,” said Lynne. “We have homemade soups, homemade pies, and all the desserts are homemade. We try to make meals that you would get at home: fried chicken, meatloaf, chicken and noodles, walleye, salmon patties, whole catfish, and our jumbo shrimp, which are as good as you would get at any fish house.”

Cummins Restaurant offers daily breakfast, lunch and dinner specials. Breakfast is available all day, and the management offers a breakfast club between 6:15 and 10 a.m. Customers can ask for a card, and can get the card punched each time they have breakfast at Cummins Restaurant during club hours. For each seven times the card is punched, the eighth breakfast is free. The restaurant is open from 6:15 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.