Suburban diners soon will be able to travel back to a simpler time while eating out in Arlington Heights as Circa 57, a 1950s-themed restaurant, prepares to open downtown later this summer.
The Arlington Heights village board Monday approved plans for owners Anthony and Kimberly Priola to renovate the former People's Bank, the second phase of what will be a large restaurant also inhabiting the former Grand Station eatery at 101 W. Campbell St.
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Circa 57 will operate as an interactive 1950s experience in the two spaces, which will have separate kitchens. The former People's Bank location will be transformed into a drive-in concept with six booths made out of old cars, a replica filling station and large garage doors that open to the street to allow for outside eating, Anthony Priola said.
The two sections will have different menus and hours, as well.
The former Grand Station portion will be open for breakfast lunch and dinner, with a carryout commuter area for coffee, breakfast or box lunches.
The area will be designed with several different scenes of the 1950s and food 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 comfort foods like biscuits, fried chicken and meatloaf.
The existing bar in Grand Station will be transformed into an old-fashioned soda fountain, Priola said.
The drive-in section will serve lunch, dinner and late-night food, and a stage will be used to bring in live entertainment.
"We're working fast and furious for a midsummer opening," Priola said, adding he hopes to have at least the first phase of the restaurant open before the Mane Event, Aug. 9 in downtown Arlington Heights.
Trustee John Scaletta had questions about the restaurant's grease trap and number of bathrooms, though plans for both are within village code.
Trustee Mike Sidor said he has heard people around different suburbs already excited about Circa 57.
"This is the type of concept that you put people on buses and bring people to town. We might saturate you, I hope," he said. "Something like this, I don't think you'll have trouble filling your booths."