Firefly Grill – Effingham, IL


Each summer we travel to Effingham and spend a weekend on Lake Sara (see our post on the lake). On this year’s trip A & J were fortunate to ditch Punchy and Bossy for a few hours (thanks, grandma!) and dine at the Firefly Grill.

The Setting

The Firefly is an impressive building, with floor to ceiling windows that flood the restaurant with natural light. The dining room and bar feels both trendy and contemporary with its neon lights and stainless steel, but also homey and Midwest chic with its re-purposed wood. According the Firefly’s website,

the frame of the building is recycled steel, all of the barn wood is reclaimed as is much of our furniture, the pond irrigates our gardens which greatly reduces our carbon footprint.

While we waited for our meals, we fed fish on a deck that stretches out over a small pond, while J sipped a tasty white Sangria. (The Firefly doesn’t serve any of these fish. A asked and got a funny look.)


The Menu

The Firefly offers a wide menu with something for everyone. There are three gardens on the grounds where the Firefly team grows many of the vegetable and herbs that they use. Sustainable, organic food is part of the mission at the FFG:

We are so passionate about our ingredients that we grow many ourselves. The remainder are hand selected locally or sourced from artisan farmers, foragers and fisherman who care for them as deeply as we do.

A ordered a cheeseburger (SO adventurous!) and french fries. Both were delicious and the serving size was generous. J ordered a Thai chicken pizza that was covered in fresh carrots, cucumber, onion and peanuts. J enjoyed her choice and didn’t even miss the cheese (this fact was evidenced by an empty plate, complete with gnaw marks).

Check out their MENU.

The Service

Our waitstaff were helpful, prompt, and friendly. They laughed at A’s dad jokes, let us feed the corpulent koi, and were kind enough to call us when A left his credit card behind.

All in all, we greatly enjoyed the Firefly Grill and recommend it to anyone traveling down state on I-57.



Lake Sara – Effingham, IL


Every year, J’s family treks to Effingham, IL to stay in cabins on Lake Sara, at a place called Anthony Acres. This is “camping” – or as close to it as J usually gets – including a mattress with box springs and air conditioning.

Punchy and Bossy have been coming here since they were babies, and they enjoyed it more than ever this year. Bossy is five now and can actually engage in a bit of fishing with J’s dad. Punchy enjoyed the wildlife.

Anthony Acres has a small beach that is fun for kids and appropriately gross and slimy to adults. There’s a dock for jumping off and a shallow end for kids Punchy and Bossy’s ages.


New this year is a playground set that we enjoyed helping to break in. The cute little office has a wide variety of candy for purchase, which Bossy in particular loves to peruse.



The highlight of the weekend, of course, is going out on boat rides with J’s dad. The real estate along the lake is impressive – there is always a new mansion being built. The nature is breathtaking. We saw blue herons taking flight, gulping fish down in one swallow. We saw turtles sunning themselves on logs. We saw baby raccoons prowling around in their den. We saw a fawn taking a drink from the lake. The breeze on the lake is refreshing.

No real hiking took place this weekend, but A and J did take a nice walk along the golf course and saw some bullfrogs. Overall, Lake Sara gets 5/5 for family friendly summer fun. We didn’t bring our dogs on the trip, but dogs are welcome.