From the soda jerks perfecting their concoctions to the waitstaff getting into character, final preparations are under way for Circa 57's highly anticipated opening next week.
Owners Anthony and Kimberly Priola said the downtown Arlington Heights diner's time warp to an era "when life was good and the cars had fins" officially begins Thursday, Oct. 17.
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"We've had folks in here for previews to get their response and see what the restaurant has turned into and so far, people are absolutely blown away by the transition of the space," Anthony Priola said.
Circa 57, located in the former People's Bank and Grand Station restaurant space at 101 W. Campbell St., features various rooms with food to match. The room mimicking the interior of a bungalow house, for example, will offer specialties from mom's home cooking and dad's backyard grill. There's also a classic diner and soda fountain area.
Priola calls the concept an interactive 1950s lifestyle experience and "gastro-diner" with unexpectedly good food hidden in a diner setting. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served.
The restaurant grew out of an investment Priola and his wife made in a 1950s museum in Branson, Mo. When the museum eventually was liquidated, he brought an assortment of classic cars and artifacts from it to his warehouse in Barrington Hills.
Priola said they then waited for the right location to come along. "Arlington Heights has a hometown feel," he said. "We knew this had to be part of Main Street USA, not in a shopping mall or a strip center."
Priola had hoped to open at least part of the restaurant for the Mane Event festival in August, but delays such as the late arrival of custom-ordered furniture pushed back the date. They felt it was important to get the most minute details right down to the phone number, which ends in 1957.
Priola said the staff is having fun getting into character. They can wear vintage bowling shirts or dress as a favorite 1950s celebrity or character. So far, there's an Elvis, a Marilyn and poodle skirt-wearing teeny boppers.
"Everyone is excited to jump in and start playing their parts," Priola said.
For more information, call (847) 392-1957 or visit Circa 57's Facebook page.