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Try one, try them all: Home of the horseshoe

What do D’Arcy’s Pint, The Dublin Pub, Lake Pointe Grill and UIS all have in common? They all share one signature dish, the horseshoe. Embedded in Springfield culture, many individuals travel from all over to experience this tasty treat, including Adam Richman of Man vs. Food.

A simple dish full of clogged arteries and deliciousness, the horseshoe was conceived in Springfield, Ill. in the 1920s by Chef Joe Schweska. It started off with two pieces of toast, followed by a slab of ham in the shape of a horseshoe. Atop the ham, fries were added, followed by a thick layer of cheese sauce to top it off. This masterpiece is one that has stuck around and has been adopted by nearly every restaurant throughout Springfield today.

A smaller plate, which serves as an exact replica of the horseshoe, is the ponyshoe. It offers the same ingredients but is made up of smaller portions, for those not ready for the full feat.

Adding to the excitement, today, many restaurants throughout town offer a variety of meat options to choose from to customize your horseshoe exactly how you like it. These meats range from hamburger, to buffalo chicken, and even lamb.

UIS communication major and Springfield native, Kelly Shanahan said, “My favorite place to try a horseshoe is D’Arcy’s. I like trying new ones each time I go, with the variety they have.” Shanahan added, “One of the unusual ones that D’Arcy’s has is the Chili horseshoe.”

Although everyone has their favorite, there are several different places to get your horseshoe fix around town other than D’Arcy’s Pint. The Dublin Pub offers “In House Specialty Shoes” ranging from Philly steak ponies to a roasted bbq pork pony. And if you’re looking for something a little different, Lake Pointe Grill offers the “Lake Pointe Horse Shoe” which features your choice of meat, served with a white cheddar ale rarebit cheese sauce on sourdough Texas toast slices and is topped with hand cut russet fries.

Shanahan said, “I have tried different places like Lake Pointe Grill, a place mid-downtown and of course UIS’ horseshoe. What make[s] them different is their cheese sauces.”

UIS senior communications major, Megan Roach stated her favorite horseshoe is the hamburger horseshoe with bacon bits. While exploring the different types of horseshoes, Roach said what makes a horseshoe different is both “the type of cheese used and the type of fries used.”

So, why is the secret in the cheese? Although most restaurants’ horseshoes are delicious, what makes each one unique and different are their cheese sauces. The cheese sauce that went with the original recipe was a Welsh rarebit cheese sauce made of white sharp cheddar. Today, restaurants offer different types of cheese than range from sharp cheddar to spicy cheddar.

Whether you are a horseshoe connoisseur, or have never experienced one for yourself, when coming to UIS, one of the most important things to do before you graduate is to try the famous Springfield horseshoe. And don’t just try one; try them all – you will not be disappointed.

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