Colonial Cafe closes abruptly in Elgin and Crystal Lake
The Elgin and Crystal Lake locations of Colonial Cafe abruptly closed Monday after decades in business.
Even though this is "a day for Colonial that we are sorry it happened," board chairman Tom Anderson said, "we're pleased to say that all our employees were offered positions at our other locations."
Customers were greeted by signs announcing the closings Monday morning.
"We are closed. We would like to thank the Elgin community for 40 great years," a sign at the Elgin location reads. "We look forward to serving you at our other locations."
A sign at the Crystal Lake location thanked the community for 33 years in business.
The chain still has two restaurants in St. Charles and one each in Naperville, Aurora and Algonquin.
The Elgin restaurant and creamery at 600 S. McLean Boulevard, just south of Elgin Community College, opened in May 1978, according to the Colonial Cafe website.
"Even though Elgin has been there for 40 years, the area has been basically bypassed by Randall Road," Anderson said. "It's been our slowest Colonial in 15 years."
The company will put up the Elgin building and two-acre property for sale, and a buyer is interested in part of the property, Anderson said.
The location at 5689 Northwest Highway in Crystal Lake opened in 2011 after 26 years in a building a block away.
The property has been listed for sale for a few months "confidentially," Anderson said. "There has been a little bit of interest, but we are also ready to sell that property."
Even though St. Charles and its surroundings is Colonial's "core area," the Algonquin store will continue to serve McHenry County, Anderson said. "We're not abandoning McHenry County," he said.
The business was founded in 1901 as a dairy milk route. "Snappy Snack" locations began to open in 1957 and two years later, the first ice cream and sandwich shop opened in St. Charles, the website says.
The family business is now in the hands of the fourth generation with Anderson's son, Clinton.
Staff writer Susan Sarkauskas contributed to this report.