It's been quite busy around Daddio's Diner in Batavia, but that's what happens when the owners declare the month of October to be a lengthy celebration of the restaurant's 10th anniversary.
Owners Scott and Terry Beltran have operated the throwback diner for the past 10 years at 134 W. Wilson St., though the location had been a downtown eating spot for many years before the Beltrans put their nostalgic spin on it.
Their daughter Kristi is actually responsible for the name of the diner, which has a general theme of having a good time.
"My daughter was calling me Daddio before she could say 'mom'," Scott said. "And that's the name that stuck."
Coming up with humorous names from songs or popular sayings carry over onto the menu as well, with a key aspect of the 10th anniversary celebration being that some of the most popular weekend dishes are now on the menu all week.
"My wife called me one time and said how about calling something 'No Way Jose' because so many people use that saying," Scott said. "It took me a while, but after I thought about it, I came up with a good idea to make refried beans better."
He added chipotle peppers, bacon and other seasonings to the generally bland refried beans and made it the base of the "No Way Jose" creation.
"The Mayans did it like this centuries ago, but I wanted to put my own twist on it, and it has really been popular for the last four years," Scott said.
On top of the refried beans, diners will find a crispy tostada, onion, peppers, eggs, and then another layer of cheese and black beans.
"It's crazy how popular it is; it is like the signature dish here now," he said.
But there's plenty more available at the restaurant, which has also given back to the community in the past decade by participating in various fundraisers, food pantry drives and even raising money for a girl in need of a wheelchair.
"I get kind of emotional in thinking about what it has meant to be here this long," Scott said. "We're hoping for many more years to come."
Quick with clothes:
When walking past the Geneva Cleaners at 130 W. State St., the sign on the window proclaims the operation of its new "smart conveyor."
So I had to ask what that meant.
Remember when employees at the dry cleaners would take your ticket stub, then hunt around in racks of clothes for the number associated with your garments?
That's not the case at Geneva Cleaners these days.
The "smart conveyor" computer chip links the clothes racks to the computer at checkout.
It means when an order is taken, the customer's phone number is associated with a spot on the rack. When a customer comes in to pick up the clean clothes and provides the phone number, it is put into the computer.
The conveyor rotates to the spot of the customer's clothes, stops near the checkout counter and pushes the clothes forward. Or, as an employee at the cleaners put it, takes the clothes out itself. That's smart.
An eco-friendly bag:
A reader was curious about the purpose of the large container, or bag, sitting near one of the ponds at Bricher and Fisher roads. Basically, he was wondering what it is used for and who owns it.
The bags come into play when scraping sediment off the bottom of the ponds, keeping the material stored for later use as a dirt or compost high in nutrients, said Mike Baum, owner of Baum Property Management, which manages the Fisher Farms subdivision in Geneva.
"We have eight ponds at Fisher Farms that don't have any direct streams for ingress or degress, so they fill in with sediment after a while," Baum said. "It makes them less and less deep."
At that point, divers go into the ponds and use hoses to suck the sediment out and funnel it into the bags. It helps make the ponds deeper, which is better for fish.
"The sediment will stay there in the bag until spring, when it is dry and hard, and then we will open it up and use what is a high-quality dirt," Baum added. "It's a very environmentally friendly and organic thing."
Water has to slowly seep out of the bag, so it operates almost like "a very durable, gigantic cheese cloth," Baum said.
The compost, or organic sediment, is used on trees and plantings in the subdivision or is made available for residents to use as needed, Baum added.
The bread returns:
My timing was pretty good. I walked into the Breadsmith bakery at 121 N. Second St. in St. Charles just as Cheri Min was handing out pieces of blueberry pie bread.
Having Min, a resident of Mount Prospect, come here as the new franchisee at Breadsmith is welcome news for the neighborhood, and bread lovers in general. This site has been opened and closed a couple of times the past few years.
"Breadsmith is really helpful in getting the bakery up and running again," Min said. "I'm hoping to keep this open for some time."
Breadsmith patrons may notice one difference in Min's operation this time around.
"In my desserts, I use all butter," she said, noting that two previous owners used a Kosher recipe for the breads and desserts.
It works. The slab of blueberry bread given to me as a sample was quite tasty.