Restaurant Scene: Lincoln's still a tradition in region

2012-10-12T00:00:00Z 2014-02-10T11:55:15Z Restaurant Scene: Lincoln's still a tradition in regionEloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

Diners looking for a great tasting sandwich, hearty bowl of soup and winning slice of pie to end the casual meal won't go wrong visiting Lincoln's in Highland.

Stepping into Lincoln's on Main Street offers food fans a mini journey back in time to an era when dime stores and soda shops reigned.

The old-fashioned pale pink decor, family photos hanging on the walls and casual setting make one think of a 1950s cafeteria-style eatery.

Lincoln's staples are hefty meat-packed sandwiches, luscious cream pies, fresh salads, hot dogs, hamburgers, submarines and more.

The eatery was established by the Stasinos family in Gary in 1962 and began as a grocery store and deli on Lincoln Avenue.

"The guys from U.S. Steel would come to the store and one day one of them asked if he could get a sandwich," said Helen Stasinos, daughter of the restaurant's founders Catherine and George.

Helen, who is now the owner and operator of the business, said the menu has always featured fresh, homemade items. The family moved their business from Gary to Calumet City in the late ’70s and opened the Highland location in 2001.

Catherine and George, she said, encouraged their three daughters Helen, Carol and Bunny to participate in the business from day one.

"My father said 'We're going to play store' and we've been playing it ever since," she said.

"Next year, we'll be celebrating our 50th anniversary," Stasinos said.

Matriarch Catherine, who was a familiar face manning the cash register on a daily basis for years, died in 2011.

"The place is not the same without her," Stasinos said.

In fact, during a Times visit in 2008, Catherine rang up our order with a pleasant smile and enthusiastic conversation.

We visited Lincoln's once again on a recent Saturday afternoon. At this restaurant, diners walk up to the counter and order. After paying, we were asked to have a seat and our food was then brought to the table.

Prior to last year, a sign at the register reminded diners that only "cash" was accepted. Stasinos said credit cards are now accepted at Lincoln's.

For lunch, we ordered the Bunny Girl sandwich ($3.99), filled with ham and Swiss cheese; U.S Steel Special ($4.75), which is roast beef and American cheese on grilled rye bread garnished with lettuce, tomato, onions and mayo; tuna salad ($3.75); split pea soup ($2.99) and slices of coconut, blueberry and chocolate creme pies ($1.75 each).

Among other popular menu items are the Sibley Special, with turkey, bacon and Swiss cheese ($4.99); Stromboli ($3.99); the Lincoln Burger ($3.75) and the Toledo, which is an Italian sausage sandwich ($3.99).

Helen's father, who died in 2001, was the creator of the eatery's recipes while her sister Carol, who died in 2004, was the main cook.

The restaurant now has a team of cooks with Helen still doing kitchen duty where she makes all the pies.

She said everything, from soups to pies, is made from scratch with quality ingredients.

"That really makes a difference in taste," she said.

FYI: Lincoln's, 2813 Highway Ave., Highland; (219) 923-4144. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; closed Sundays.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach her at (219) 933-3365 or eloise.valadez@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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