The local business 156 East has catered American fare to countless large parties in the Galesburg area since 2012. Last month, prior to opening their doors to the public, the head team of three restaurateurs — Inba Ayala, Wil Azer and Angie Simpson — successfully transformed their reception space into a restaurant.
“I take it there were a lot of things that we as a whole wanted to have when we went out to eat that wasn’t available and what better way to make sure that happens than to be the one that provide it?” said Simpson, front house manager. “We’ve got a wide variety [of] things you can’t get everywhere in Galesburg.”
The menu of 156 East is a testimony to Simpson’s word. Boasting hints of Mexican and American cuisines with an emphasis on Mediterranean food, the restaurant supplies fresh sustenance to satisfy a broad range of food cravings.
The ambience has been designed with a sense that encapsulates the image of a new wave modern restaurant. The decor simultaneously celebrates local history.
The walls are adorned with pictures relating to the various aspects of Galesburg from the Lincoln Douglas debate to Carl Sandburg to AJ Fike, a famous race car driver from Galesburg. Along with typical meat-eater entrees, 156 East has vegan options integrated into their menu, such as hummus and falafel wraps, zesty quinoa salad and a plant-based, protein-packed beyond burger. Still with these available alternatives, the staff is open to menu suggestions, particularly from a population with diverse dietary needs such as Knox students and faculty. In the future, they plan to stock wraps and sandwiches in to-go containers to make their food more accessible for those without time to dine in.
“There’s an audience at Knox who would love [our food]. And [Galesburg] is limited!” Simpson said. “We hope to grow our offerings.”