BEMENT — One restaurant in town is known for its plethora of primates. There aren’t live animals at the Lucky Monkey. Instead, most of them are toys and stuffed animals. The owner says she didn’t come up with the idea, but it’s a lot of fun and people seem to like it.
You don’t have to be that lucky to see monkeys there. They’re pretty much everywhere.
“All the kids that come in love to play with them,” said Bridget Rund, who is the owner. “They can play with them. Some people take them home, bring them back. It’s just fun. The kids love it.”
The animals are one part of the restaurant, but there’s plenty more to it.
“They love the food and they love the atmosphere,” said Rund. “It’s a great place to drink and eat.”
She started cooking when she was a kid. Her first meal was meatloaf.
“I was always in 4-H because my mother was the extension advisor, so I learned to cook doing 4-H projects and I’ve always enjoyed it,” said Rund.
Rund has expanded her pallete since then, but you’ll still find some of her tried and true go-to’s on the menu.
“I have homemade stuffed mushrooms that are one of the favorite things here,” said Rund. “And we try to do everything from scratch. I do fried chicken from scratch on Wednesdays, homemade meatloaf. We peel our own potatoes so it’s all homemade gravies.”
Those homemade flavors are some of the reasons people come here from across central Illinois. Many are familiar faces to Rund.
“I went to high school in Bement so I know everybody,” said Rund. “I know it’s all local people who come in and people are coming from Decatur and Paxton and different places just to eat here so that’s exciting and fun.”
Even though her passion is in the kitchen, Rund says the best part of having a restaurant is being with the people who buy her food. She even adds a secret ingredient to everything she makes.
“It’s all made with love,” said Rund. “That’s how I make my food, all with love.”
And you won’t find that in any jungle, just in Our Town Bement.
Rund says she has no idea how many monkeys she has, but people who stop by are more than welcome to try to count them.