The couple is no stranger to the food service industry, and they
have a secret weapon in their corner that you’ll learn about in just
a bit. At a very young age, Joel began working for Domino’s Pizza,
and eventually he came to own not one, but five such eateries; the
one in Lincoln, Mahomet, Morton, and two in Peoria.
Tabitha began her working career in education, serving first as an
Early Childhood Education Paraprofessional at Adams School, then
working as a substitute teacher for the District 27 school system.
When the couple married in 2013, Tabitha made the decision to leave
teaching and work side-by-side with her husband to manage their five
Dominos. But the couple knew that they wanted something more for
themselves and their future. They often talked of selling the
Domino’s and opening a restaurant that would be a bigger expression
of themselves and a more personalized offering to the community.
Tabitha explained that changes in the franchise and other feelings
about the businesses they owned, prompted the couple to in 2015
follow through with their dream by selling all five franchised
“Joel and I would often dream of selling our stores in the future
and opening up one great restaurant in Lincoln where we could devote
all of our time and energy locally,” said Tabitha. “A family-style
restaurant with great food at a good price and great customer
service. Our dream eventually became a plan and in 2015, we sold all
of our stores.”
The couple then began their search for the perfect place to locate
their new restaurant, knowing that it had to be in the Lincoln area.
It was then that the Elks Lodge restaurant caught their attention.
As many know, the restaurant has gone through a handful of owners
and managers in the past few years. And, the couple learned the
restaurant was once again closed.
Tabitha explained, “The Elk's Lodge was seeking someone with a
serious interest in opening their own restaurant to fill their
vacant restaurant space. Joel and I felt this was "our calling" and
we were soon discussing ideas and plans with the Elks.
“As we entered 2016, we signed a contract with the Elk's and worked
diligently to create a comfortable restaurant atmosphere with a
delicious menu selection. Although the restaurant is housed in the
lodge, it is owned and operated by us, and it is open to the
The couple has a keen interest in their local roots and the Abraham
Lincoln heritage of this community. When they started thinking about
what they would name their new restaurant, they had two thoughts in
mind, their own name, and the name of Abraham Lincoln. Tabitha
explained that it all kind of fell together right in front of them.
They were thinking about Abraham Lincoln, and also about their last
name of “Beard” and they remembered that Abraham Lincoln’s ‘beard’
was a big part of the 16th President’s history.
“You may know the true story of an 11-year old girl, Grace Bedell,
who wrote a letter to Lincoln suggesting he let his whiskers grow as
his face was too thin. She suggested he would look a great deal
better and would get more votes. Lincoln responded to Bedell almost
immediately and soon after he was sporting some new whiskers. The
Lincoln photo we used for Whiskers is the first known photo of him
with facial hair and he kept his beard for the rest of his life.”
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Tabitha noted that while it was Lincoln’s beard that made a stir, what the young
Grace Bedell asked of him was that he grow “whiskers.” For Joel and Tabitha,
that was their ‘ah-ha moment.’ To honor their family name and their beloved Mr.
Lincoln, the name of the grill and pub should be “Whiskers.” In addition, the
picture on their sign and logo is a copy of the first photo taken of Lincoln
after he began growing his whiskers.
With the eatery open to the public, the couple is offering food service seven
days a week. They are open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and on
Friday and Saturday they extend their hours to 10 p.m. On Sunday, they are open
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
They have a lunch menu, as well as a dinner menu that features some very tasty
Lunch menus include a nice variety of sandwiches, meal-sized salads with an
accompanying bowl of soup, and a selection of horseshoes. “It’s very difficult
to choose which one, or few may be a customer favorite. Our horseshoes are a
huge hit; many have said they're the best in the area. And we've often heard
that our chicken wings are as good as, or better than those at big name wing
restaurants in big cities.”
At dinner time, a menu favorite is the meatloaf dinner, which is quickly
becoming nick-named “Mama’s Meatloaf,” and that is the secret weapon mentioned
earlier. Tabitha explained that the meatloaf recipe belongs to her mother Glenna
Peterson, who comes to the restaurant every day, and personally prepares the
dinner offering as well as another special feature; mozzarella stuffed
meatballs. “One young man ate at Whiskers three times in one week and ordered
the meatloaf dinner every time. He even contacted Joel and me privately asking
us to sell an entire loaf to him. "Name your price!" he said.
If you need to top off a great dinner with a great dessert, Whiskers has you
covered there too. “My mother bakes 'edible brownie bowls' for our brownie bowl
sundae, and everybody loves them as well as our fried ice cream and hand-dipped
The restaurant offers a great selection of items on the kids menu to help make
family outings more affordable. Each Tuesday is “kids’ days” with a $2.50 meal
offering that includes everything on the kid’s menu with the exception of the
The restaurant features two dining areas. The front area is a casual sports-bar
setting with a large screen television. Folks can come in for an early evening
drink and stay for a meal. The back dining room is a little more formal and
offers music playing softly in the background and the same great views of the
Elks Golf Course that we’ve enjoyed over the past years.
Joel and Tabitha are excited about their future with Whiskers and feel that they
have a good relationship with the Elk’s that will serve both the lodge and
themselves well for the foreseeable future.
“The Elk's members are happy to have a restaurant back in their facility, and
every day we meet new people from Lincoln and surrounding communities who've
heard of our delicious food. We're seeing many Lincolnites coming back often to
sample everything on the menu,” Tabitha concluded.