Who knew Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn and House Minority Leader Tom Cross had such an affinity for a restaurant where you can buy old Andy Griffith programs, eat turnip greens and play checkers on oversized burlap boards?
Well, it's true. The two political rivals, who have clashed over finding ways to dig the state out of its $86 billion pension crisis, had a powwow Monday.
And it wasn't at the Executive Mansion, where a pretty respectable kitchen staff serves at the governor's beck and call. Nor was it at a more upscale place like the Four Seasons' four-star Allium on North Michigan Avenue.
Instead, they chose to conduct the affairs of state at the bastion of highway travelers everywhere: a Cracker Barrel.
"We definitely like to have lunch together. We were at Cracker Barrel not too long ago," the governor told reporters Wednesday. "I ate carrots, lots of carrots, green beans. And we were eating healthy."
The same was true for Cross (R-Oswego), as they chatted about pensions, gambling and capital spending at the Cracker Barrel off Weber Road in Bolingbrook off Interstate 55, a location Cross said he chose and the governor readily complied.
"I had turnip greens, pinto beans, fried okra, and I must've had green beans. I did have one of their nice biscuits. This was my idea," Cross told the Sun-Times.
"The governor sat down at the table and said, 'Excellent. I don't need a menu,'" Cross said. "We're just a couple of Cracker Barrel guys."