Monday, July 4, 2011
Track Inn building originated in 1900s. The building Di’s Track Inn occupies originally was Marburger’s tavern, opened by John Marburger in 1907, which was split between the tavern and a barbershop, according to local historian Gary Fyke. The tavern changed hands a few times, and then became different restaurants, including the Northtown Café, New Apollo and Michael’s, until Donna Gondek’s parents, Sam and Mary Ann King, bought the businesOpening in May 1977, Track Inn’s business mostly came from the railroad. Gondek recalled long days and busy times at the restaurant during the initial years. She and her mother were thrilled to make $300 the first day the restaurant opened, Gondek said. The business was her mother’s idea, and she kept the food cooking while Gondek was out front with the customers. As years went by, Gondek ran the business by herself and found she enjoyed the making of the food.
Picking up skills from her mother on cooking, she also learned how to make pies and other goods from her night cook. She began baking up a storm, winning her 42 awards in a five-year period at the Heart of Illinois Fair. They made her stop entering, Gondek said. “I really had dedicated pretty much my life to it,” said Gondek of the business.
(Click to enlarge)