Terry Carr Sr. and his son and manager Terry Jr. of the Steak N Egger on Route 66 in McCook, IL were so proud of their newly renovated eatery this spring. The former Snuffy’s 24-Hour Grill, which had been closed for many months before the Carrs bought it a year ago, got a complete gut-and-remodeling that was showcased in an open house this past April.
So: you can imagine the heartbreak for the Carrs when a truck and a car in their parking lot had a little altercation a few weeks ago, and the truck went through the wall of the restaurant. Ouch. The Carrs have bravely posted several enlarged color photographs of the accident itself on the inside wall of the barrier covering the damaged wall. They’re not pretty. You can clearly see the wall buckled inside the restaurant in one of the shots.
My two colleagues, Joe Kubal and Keith Yearman, and I got to see the repair efforts first hand this afternoon when we stopped at the popular Route 66 eatery for lunch after visiting this year’s Route 66 Car Show in Berwyn. The Carrs have boarded up the damaged part of the wall (closest to the relocated entrance on the side facing the parking lot) and closed it off from the inside until repairs can be made. The damage to the planter in front of the parking-lot side of the building has been temporarily mended (sort of). So far, so good.
However, the big problem is that the unique feature of the former Snuffy’s building is its jigsaw-puzzle-assembled limestone exterior, made from Joliet-type dolomitic limestone that was quarried less than a mile from the diner’s McCook location. Terry Sr. admitted last spring that he’s always loved that distinctive exterior. It’s one of the main reasons he was so eager to acquire the property. But that particular shade of taupe limestone is hard to get and very hard to match (Joliet-type limestone is usually a pale or creamy yellow) … so the Carrs are having a difficult time getting new stone to replace the crushed and crumbled bits. The upshot is that they may have to use glass block instead to repair that section; then it’ll at least match the glass block used elsewhere on the renovated exterior (glass block is used at the SE corner of the building, where the old entrance was).
The accident didn’t cause the diner to close, of course: true to the chain’s reputation for being open 24/7, the Steak N Egger on Route 66 just keeps doing business while repairs go forward. The place was certainly full when we got there today. The chain, a local enterprise, was begun in 1955 by Terry Sr.’s dad, who opened Al’s Grill across Ogden Avenue from Mt. Sinai Medical Center in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. Steak N Egger, a subsidiary of Carr Restaurant Group of Cicero, IL, currently has five locations, two of which are on Route 66 (the Cicero, IL location is on Ogden Avenue near Central Avenue, but it’s not as cute). Terry Carr Sr. is the company’s current CEO.
The Carrs may hold another grand (re)opening celebration once the repairs are done. If they do, we’ll be sure to let you know. Meanwhile, look for the Carrs (and us) at the Berwyn Route 66 Car Show on Saturday.
Until next time,