Illinois Loses A Restaurant Icon: Remembering The Great Bob Chinn
Located on Milwaukee Ave in Wheeling, Illinois about a mile south of Dundee Road sits Bob Chinn's Crabhouse, a destination since 1982 for people looking for some excellent seafood and an even better atmosphere.
It was next to impossible to not know who was responsible for, and in charge of, Bob Chinn's Crabhouse. His name was plastered on pretty much everything in the restaurant and he was almost always there interacting with guests.
Bob Chinn was one of the most, if not THE most successful independent restaurateur the state of Illinois has ever seen. Chinn passed away last week at the age of 99.
NOTE: I just realized that the word restaurateur does not contain the letter "n" which is very confusing. It's just one of those words that I've never had to say out loud or even write before this article. After about 90 seconds of research, it turns out that the word "restaurateur" is actually older than "restaurant," so the question should actually be, where did the "n" come from in restaurant? The internet doesn't have a good answer for that.
Restaurateur, Bob Chinn, opened the Wheeling restaurant with his namesake in 1982 and it has been wildly popular ever since. Make a drive past Bob Chinn's during a dinner or lunch rush and you'll definitely see a parking lot packed to the gills, and an ambling herd of diners waiting outside for a table to open up.
I've only had the pleasure of dining at Bob Chinn's once in my life, but it's an experience you'll always remember. Yes the seafood is excellent. When you get a literally ton of seafood delivered to your restaurant everyday, quality is obviously going to be there.
What made you remember the trip to Bob Chinn's was the atmosphere, the Mai Tais, and the gregarious, friendly, quick witted owner walking the floor and touching tables. Even if you only spoke with Bob for 5 minutes you were convinced you were friends for life.
The restaurant caught on quickly and the profits began to roll in. Bob Chinn's was named the most popular restaurant in America in 2014 after reporting a staggering $24 million in food sales alone.
Bob Chinn's isn't going anywhere soon but the spirit of the restaurant won't ever be the same.
Obituaries were written on pretty much any Chicago based media platform over the past few days.
The restaurant was popular with many of the athletes that have passed through Chicago. Toni Kukoc was a constant figure at Bob Chinn's and with the Bears practice facility just a few miles away, it hosted more than a few dinners for the Monsters of the Midway. One can only imagine what the final bill was after a group of offensive linemen in the NFL had their fill of crab legs.
Bob Chinn's isn't going anywhere anytime soon. If you've never been, take a trip out to Wheeling sometime this summer and see what all the fuss is about. You won't be disappointed.
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