If you’re looking for a fun, affordable place to take the family for a day, or even just a couple of hours, you may want to check out one of central Illinois’ lesser-known gems, Didley’s Place in Metamora. With everything from a full-service restaurant and grills for making your own eats to miniature golf and an outdoor movie theater, Didley’s has a little bit of something for everyone—and at affordable prices. Inspired by Ellen and Bob Kennel’s love for the “good ol’ days,” muscle cars and the dream of creating a place where families could spend time together, Didley’s Place has been a success from the very start. With new additions to the complex nearly every year, you never know what you’ll find next at Didley’s.
Street Rods and the Good Ol’ Days
Bob Kennel’s love for street rods, restoring old automobiles and working on his own racing cars prompted the creation of Didley’s Place. With a need for a bigger space in which to run his shop, Bob, also known as Didley, opened Didley’s Place with his wife. While it all started with Didley’s Street Rods—which, under Bob’s direction, builds and restores classic and muscle cars—the Kennels had big plans for adding a restaurant and other features that paid tribute to the good ol’ days.
In 2005, they opened Didley’s Car Hop, a genuine eatery true to its name, with waitresses on roller skates who delivered old-fashioned treats to customers. An instant success, it expanded in 2008 to become a full-service restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. While the waitresses no longer don roller skates, the same great-tasting food is still available at the Hop.
Something for Everyone
In efforts to make Didley’s Place a family destination, the Kennels have added several outdoor recreational elements to the already thriving business. An outdoor theatre was installed in 2006, giving families a great place to spend warm summer nights under the stars while enjoying first-run, family-friendly flicks on the big screen. An average of 200 people bring their lawn chairs and blankets every Friday and Saturday evening from May to August. Reasonably priced at just $4 for adults and half-price for children 13 and under, even large families can afford to bring the whole bunch!
Seeking to provide more daytime activities, Bob and Ellen added a sand volleyball court and horseshoe pit, both of which are free of charge and open to anyone. They built an 18-hole miniature golf course and go-kart track, and added Didley’s Train, which offers rides around the complex for guests of all ages. Surrounded by grills and fire pits perfect for cooking up burgers and s’mores, the playground and rentable pavilion make bigger parties and family reunions fun and relaxing.
So if you’re looking for an affordable place to take your family for some summer fun, check out Didley’s Place at 920 N. Niles Street in Metamora. For more info or to see a schedule of movies, visit didleys.com, or contact Jodi at 367-2105 or [email protected] a&s