Demolition of the iconic Don Roth's Blackhawk restaurant in Wheeling, which closed five years ago, began Friday.
The restaurant, one of the original features on Wheeling's famed Restaurant Row, closed in 2009 after 40 years on Milwaukee Avenue just north of Dundee Road. The building was originally a farmhouse dating from the 1880s, and village officials said there was no way to save it.
The Roth family and Wheeling are working together to create a shovel-ready site for redevelopment, John C. Melaniphy III, Wheeling's director of economic development, said Friday.
Wheeling trustees agreed last May to spend up to $70,000 on the demolition. Doug Roth, son of the late Don Roth, told the board then that the family had received no offers for the property. Otto Roth, Don Roth's father, opened a restaurant on Wabash Street in the Chicago Loop in 1920, almost half a century before the suburban version opened. The two restaurants were known for their spinning salad bowl and rolling roast beef cart.