Everything old will be new again in downtown Arlington Heights when Circa 57, a 1950s-themed restaurant, opens in the former Grand Station and People's Bank locations this summer.
Owners Anthony and Kimberly Priola appeared before the village board Monday night and got their liquor license approved for what will eventually be a 10,000-square-foot space at 101 W. Campbell St.
"The overall theme will be an interactive lifestyle experience of the 1950s," said Anthony Priola, describing how the restaurant will be divided into different scenes depicting varying elements of life in 1957 with food and drinks to match.
One section will be modeled off a dad's backyard barbecue, with ribs, burgers and seafood. Another will be a blue plate special section, with diner comfort foods like biscuits, fried chicken and meatloaf.
The existing bar in Grand Station will be transformed into an old-fashioned soda fountain, he said.
The Priolas said they hope to have Circa 57 open in the former Grand Station space by the end of May, and continue expanding into the former People's Bank with that section planned to open by August.
Once the bank section is open it will feature an automotive/drive-in scene complete with a 1957 Chevrolet and other cars from the era. Customers will order pizza, burgers, fries and milkshakes and eat in the cars while watching an old film clip from the period.
Priola said he plans to build the bar inside a model of an old Texaco gas station from 1957 and a gift shop with memorabilia inside a mock-up of a 1950-style department store.
Circa 57 will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a late night menu. It will also host some live entertainment, be available for private parties and maybe host the occasional sockhop, Priola said.
Kimberly Priola said they plan to hire at lest 50 people to start, but will probably have 100 to 120 employees once the full restaurant is open.
"The hiring process will also be kind of a casting call because we will expect employees to play the part," Anthony said.
Priola said he grew up in Mount Prospect and was looking for a village with a hometown feel to open their theme restaurant.
The couple owned Oak Street Beachstro on the lakefront in Chicago for more than a decade before a contract dispute with the Chicago Park District in 2010.
"I may be the only one here remembering 1957, so I'm looking forward to going back in time," said Village President Arlene Mulder. "I think what you're providing is something fun for families and in a great location in the heart of our community."