Monday, July 4, 2011

Track Inn

I was reading the Chillicothe weekly newspaper on line the other day and came across an article about this restaurant that was out at the end of Santa Fe street.  When we moved back to Chilli in 1982,  we would sometimes have dinner at this little place that was kind of like a little hole in the wall but the food wasreasonably priced and it was good.  You could have a nice meal for not much money and lots of people ate at the Track Inn.  There were two or three tables right by the windows in front and then a counter with stools all the way back on the left side.  On the right side were booths - or tables - all the way back.  What used to strike me as being funny was that everytime someone came in the door, everyone with their back in that direction turned around and everyone at the counter glanced left to see who was arriving.  Most of the time, you knew who it was.  Looks from the picture like things have been spiffied up since the eighties.  My, they had good pies!!  Following is part of the article from the paper.

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 CafĂ©, 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)

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