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New Nelson Park restaurant opening Thursday, offers fair food without the carnival rides

Everyone's Fair Fooderie

Everyone's Fair Fooderie is scheduled to open Thursday, Aug. 1, at the Overlook Adventure Park complex in Nelson Park.


DECATUR — No need to wait for a fair or festival for classic fair food.

Everyone’s Fair Fooderie will be open Thursday, Aug. 1, as part of Nelson Park’s Overlook Adventure Park. Fair food such as foot-long corn dogs, cotton candy, elephant ears and jumbo fried pickle on a stick are part of the menu.

Nic Morganthaler is owner and executive chef of Everyone’s Fair Fooderie as well as Everyone’s East End Grill on Brush College Road.

Everyone's East End Grill is a family diner with classic comfort food. “The new restaurant is fair food,” Morganthaler said. “It’s like a food truck in a brick-and-mortar store.”

The goal of the chef and staff is to have unique items unavailable at other restaurants. “We didn’t want to do anything that anybody else around here has,” Morganthaler said. “Every single thing on our menu, no one else will have.”

Morganthaler also chose the menu to fit with the park’s outdoor theme and the other businesses surrounding it. Other activities at Overlook include miniature golf, a ropes course and batting cages, plus ice cream from Mister Softee. A water park is scheduled to open in the spring. “(The restaurant) will be part of the destination,” he said.

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According to Karalee Misner, the Decatur Park District’s director of marketing, the park district is happy to be partnering with small businesses such as the new restaurant.

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“And we were excited to see the menu,” she said. “It is very kid-friendly.”

Misner said the Overlook visitors aren’t the only ones to have another choice for lunches and snacks.

“The park crew will be able to stop by and grab some lunch,” she said. “They will be able to feed so many people on that side of town.”

Although Everyone’s Fair Fooderie is opening somewhat late in the season, the staff still wanted to bring the menu to the customers of the park this year. Morganthaler said he was approached by the park district three months ago about opening the fair-style restaurant. He was happy he and the staff were able to create a unique restaurant in such a short amount of time.

“We wanted to get it to where, if you wanted to come in and sit down you could. But if you want to come in and grab yourself an elephant ear and play 18 holes of miniature golf, knock yourself out,” Morganthaler said. “Once that water park opens up, it is going to be the place to be.”

Everyone’s Fair Fooderie will also have an additional room for parties, another feature to the Overlook Adventure Park destination bundle. “They have several packages you can buy,” Morganthaler said. “We all work as one big team.”

As winter approaches, the restaurant will close for the season. Hopes for the future include keeping the restaurant open year-round. However, when the park opens again for the 2020 season, Morganthaler would like to try out different fair food items. “We will pick some things that are completely off the wall,” he said. “Each week it may be a fair food favorite, like fried alligator or fried Kool-aid (cake balls), or cheesecake on a stick. There are endless possibilities.”

Photos: Summer in Decatur parks, 'Yellow Hats' through the years

Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR


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