1. The company constructed the building and opened it on December 16, 2012. It cost $50,000 and was built like a fortress with solid steel and concrete.
2. It was a processing plant, not a slaughterhouse. Swift revolutionized the meat industry by using refrigerated rail cars to supply beef from Chicago throughout the country. The Galesburg building was serviced by a rail spur off the mainline, which
3. Adjoined the building on the north side, and allowed for sides of beef to be transferred from the refrigerated rail car directly into the building (through the exit door on the north side of the dining room). The building could accommodate 120 sides of beef per delivery.
4. The sides of beef would be processed into smaller portions to be delivered to butchers and grocery stores within a 50-mile radius of Galesburg.
5. The west side of the building was originally a stable for horses. The open-air area of the front entrance carried all the way through the building to the north side.
6. It was not until 1927 that Swift introduced trucks to make deliveries. For the first 15 years of operation, all deliveries were made by horse-drawn carriages.
7. Swift operated the building continuously until 1976 when the Galesburg operation
was consolidated with Davenport, Iowa.
8. The building sat empty until 1978 when it was purchased by the Jay & Mary Matson to be converted to a restaurant, the Packinghouse Dining Company, which openedin 1979. The restaurant served as a successful example of adaptive reuse, bringing an outdated historic building to a new life. It was recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in its “Main Street” program as a role model. Although such conversions are commonplace today, in the seventies this was a news feature. The Packinghouse received national attention with articles in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, etc. Because the original building was a large refrigerated walk-in cooler, it was lined with cork insulation on walls, ceiling and floors. This element served to make the building very energy efficient in terms of heating and cooling.
9. The original building was a large walk-in cooler on the first floor, the area which is now the main dining area. The overhead fans on the ceiling were part of the original ammonia-based cooling system. The iron overhead rails transported the sides of beef through the processing stages.
10. The coat rack area by the entrance was a freight elevator. The doors to the elevator are displayed in the bar on the east wall. The cooler door on the dining room wall south of the kitchen entrance was the original door to the cooler. The scale displayed is original, like the
“Butcher Boy” (meat grinder for processing hamburger) which is serving as a host counter. In the northeast corner of the dining room, the blackboard used to record sales is also original.
11. This is the 40th anniversary of the Packinghouse restaurant (1979-2019).
During Labor Day weekend in September, Galesburg hosts the Stearman Fly-in. Also in September are the Great Cardboard Boat Regatta and the Annual Rubber Duck Race, at Lake Storey. On the third weekend of every August, a Civil War and pre-1840s rendezvous are held at Lake Storey Park.
Whether you are in town for a festival, business or pleasure, stop in at The Packinghouse Dining Company and try our one of many delicious items on our menu!
Great atmosphere, fabulous food, friendly staff. The warm cinnamon bun rolls given instead of bread was AMAZING. Great Salad bar add on with dinner was fantastic. Love the pot roast and the caprese chicken. Would definitely come back
Well, another end of day sojourn to The Packing House in Galesburg. As usual, the food and service were excellent!
Larry, our server, was professional and friendly. The cinnamon rolls were buttery and hot. The ribeye, juicy and tasty. Bottom line, as a finicky hot head, I can’t find anything to bitch about. It’s just that good.
Frankly, if you want a fabulous dinning experience at a price half of what the same meal would cost in Chicago,(without the experience of being carjacked or towed), then The Packing House is worth a visit.
Amazing food and service
We came for lunch after a football game and it was amazing! We even wanted something on the after 4pm menus but they made it available to us! Service was excellent and friendly! Will come again!
Great food, atmosphere, & staff. The salad bar is to DIE for!! And of course, the cinnamon rolls are the absolute best! This place used to be for special occasions only as the prices were pretty steep. Since the new owners have taken it over, it’s very affordable.
Just enjoyed the best burger I’ve had in months.. medium well cooked to perfection! Wine with dinner was a bonus, delivery was on time, thanks Autumn! So looking forward to seeing all of you at the Packinghouse in person!
Wow, excellent lunch! Stopped by while on a road trip at the recommendation of a friend. First of all, this restaurant is in a repurposed meat packing plant. There are scales and antique signs, but the highlight of the atmosphere are the refrigeration coils and the meat racks hanging from the ceiling.
OPENED UNDER NEW MGMT in Jan. 2019 and happy to have this dining option back in Galesburg. Right around the corner from South Seminary St. shopping and so close to the Amtrak train depot.They have kept the salad bar and the cinnamon rolls, both are favorites and always fresh. When we dined there today, there was a large bridal shower in a private room and a birthday celebration in the middle of the dining room. Plenty of space for everyone. Good variety of options for all of us to pick from. Our only suggestion would be to make your own 1000 Island dressing. See attached photos.