April 18, 2024

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Built General Tough

Grill ‘Em All food stand dishes out food at Peoria’s Keller Station

What is “street food?”

If you ask Stephen LeMasters, the former executive chef at Bradley University, he’ll tell you it “could be a million things.” But you can find out what his renditions of street food are at his new food stand, Grill ‘Em All.

“I just like the idea of street food in general,” LeMasters said. “I think it’s fun, I think people really dig it. It kind of catches my eye.”

LeMasters and his 12-year-old daughter Marley, his newest “partner” in the food business, have been operating Grill ‘Em All from Keller Station’s Farmers Market Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the last two months. 

Grill 'Em All food stand owner Stephen LeMasters whips up one of his specialty menu items, a bodega chopped cheese wrap, during his weekly Wednesday evening appearance at the Keller Station Farmers Market in Peoria.

LeMasters’ food stand specializes in street food, particularly the chop cheese sandwich, a New York-inspired creation made with chopped beef, onions, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, ketchup and mayo. 

One of his other favorites to serve is a banh mi, a sandwich that originated in Vietnam. It’s made with pork belly, cilantro, jalapenos, pickled vegetables and spicy mayo.

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Much of his inspiration for dishes comes from watching what other chefs from around the world have done with street food, items sold by vendors at on-the-street stalls that are relatively easy to eat even without sitting at a table. 

“Before I started doing this I was getting online and watching videos of street vendors from all over the world, just different countries, stuff they do,” LeMasters said. “Just getting inspiration, not only from the food they serve but they way they do it, what they’re cooking on.”

A freshly-prepared bodega chopped cheese wrap with potato chips is headed to a hungry customer from Stephen LeMasters' Grill 'Em All food stand at the Keller Station Farmers Market.

Its still a learning curve for LeMasters every time he sets up shop, whether it be at Keller Station or one of Peoria’s marijuana dispensaries (where he has found great success). His daughter Marley takes most of the orders and handles the register while the veteran chef works the grill. 

Marley loves getting to spend time with her dad at their food stand, and she naturally loves the payout that comes from working their busy food stand.