End of track for Snackville Junction

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Jim2903
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2007/04/30 13:00:46 (permalink)

End of track for Snackville Junction

It wasn't the best food in the world, but a Lionel train brought it to your seat, and it was a fond memory of my childhood.

Snackville Junction, a longtime fixture in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood and most recently 91st and Kedzie in Evergreen Park, served its last diners this past Sunday. The owners are retiring and couldn't find a buyer, so they just decided to close.

When I was growing up, my doctor was in the same neighborhood as this place, so check-up day always meant lunch at Snackville Junction. A Lionel train traveled along the long counter and brought you your burgers, dogs and fries in baskets riding in custom-made train cars. When you were done, the train brought you a basket from which you chose your Dum-Dum lollypop for dessert.

I hadn't been there for well over a decade, but I had to have one last burger on rails, and I was among the throngs on Sunday who waited a half-hour or more for a seat at the counter -- along with my 3-year-old daughter as well as my parents, to let one more generation enjoy a little fun with her food.

Thanks for the memories, Snackville Junction ...

Jim Dudlicek
Hoffman Estates, IL
#1

13 Replies Related Threads

    ChiTownDiner
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    RE: End of track for Snackville Junction 2007/04/30 13:12:38 (permalink)
    I never had a chance to go but saw it on the 10pm news last week. Wish I could have tried it once. Isn't there another place with a train in DesPlaines? Maybe Buddy knows...it's his stomping grounds.
    #2
    lynndunham
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    RE: End of track for Snackville Junction 2007/04/30 13:36:27 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ChiTownDiner

    I never had a chance to go but saw it on the 10pm news last week. Wish I could have tried it once. Isn't there another place with a train in DesPlaines? Maybe Buddy knows...it's his stomping grounds.

    I grew up in Barrington and remember being taken to the one in Des Plaines a couple of times. I think of it often and can get really nostalgic! I googled it once and it was still open. Don't remember what the food tasted line - that would have been around 1950 and I was pretty young but the train was lots of fun. Don't know how to do a link for it but here's the address for the Choo Choo Restaurant.

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g35889-d451262-Reviews-Choo_Choo_Restaurant-Des_Plaines_Illinois.html

    Oops! Guess I do know how to create a link!
    #3
    ChiTownDiner
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    RE: End of track for Snackville Junction 2007/04/30 13:40:34 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by lynndunham

    quote:
    Originally posted by ChiTownDiner

    I never had a chance to go but saw it on the 10pm news last week. Wish I could have tried it once. Isn't there another place with a train in DesPlaines? Maybe Buddy knows...it's his stomping grounds.

    I grew up in Barrington and remember being taken to the one in Des Plaines a couple of times. I think of it often and can get really nostalgic! I googled it once and it was still open. Don't remember what the food tasted line - that would have been around 1950 and I was pretty young but the train was lots of fun. Don't know how to do a link for it but here's the address for the Choo Choo Restaurant.

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g35889-d451262-Reviews-Choo_Choo_Restaurant-Des_Plaines_Illinois.html

    Oops! Guess I do know how to create a link!


    You do and it worked - thanks for the update! if I get up there, I'll report back with some food info.
    #4
    lynndunham
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    RE: End of track for Snackville Junction 2007/04/30 14:17:19 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ChiTownDiner

    quote:
    Originally posted by lynndunham

    quote:
    Originally posted by ChiTownDiner

    I never had a chance to go but saw it on the 10pm news last week. Wish I could have tried it once. Isn't there another place with a train in DesPlaines? Maybe Buddy knows...it's his stomping grounds.

    I grew up in Barrington and remember being taken to the one in Des Plaines a couple of times. I think of it often and can get really nostalgic! I googled it once and it was still open. Don't remember what the food tasted line - that would have been around 1950 and I was pretty young but the train was lots of fun. Don't know how to do a link for it but here's the address for the Choo Choo Restaurant.

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g35889-d451262-Reviews-Choo_Choo_Restaurant-Des_Plaines_Illinois.html

    Oops! Guess I do know how to create a link!


    You do and it worked - thanks for the update! if I get up there, I'll report back with some food info.


    Thanks, I'd love to hear!
    #5
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    RE: End of track for Snackville Junction 2007/04/30 15:32:35 (permalink)
    My daughter abe froeman(!) and I stopped in at the Choo-Choo a while back after what might have been a 15 year or more absence. The food was better than I'd remembered and it fulfilled some nice dad/daughter reminiscences along the way. I wrote about it in this thread.

    http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=11096&SearchTerms=%22choo-choo%22

    At one time there were quite a few railroad themed hamburger joints around the Chicago area, all with the same Lionel Train delivery system. Once Snackville Junction closes, the Choo-Choo will be the only one left.

    There is one other interesting train themed place left in Chicago. Fast Tracks at the corner of Lake Street and Des Plaines Avenue (no relation or connection to the city of the same name) in Chicago has a Chicago Public Transportation theme. Photos of the old "Green Hornet" streetcars, old "El" Trains and other modes of public transport adorn the walls. There is a large scale model train running overhead on a track that follows the inside perimeter of the building. Outside seating consists of tables and benches made of welded together axles and wheels off of old subway train cars.

    They have an extensive and high quality fast food menu, not the least of which is an excellent version of the classic Chicago Style Hot Dog and an outstanding pub-style Cheeseburger. Great fresh cut fries too!!!

    Back about 18 years ago (Holy crap!) when Dad and I both worked downtown for other companies, Fast Tracks was a favorite spot to meet for lunch because it was more or less halfway between where we both worked. Wish I had reasons to visit that neighborhood more often these days.

    Fast Tracks is also one of the few businesses in that area (or the entire downtown Chicago area for that matter) that has off street parking. Not a lot, mind you, but it is there.

    Buddy
    #6
    ChiTownDiner
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    RE: End of track for Snackville Junction 2007/04/30 16:04:28 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BuddyRoadhouse

    My daughter abe froeman(!) and I stopped in at the Choo-Choo a while back after what might have been a 15 year or more absence. The food was better than I'd remembered and it fulfilled some nice dad/daughter reminiscences along the way. I wrote about it in this thread.

    http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=11096&SearchTerms=%22choo-choo%22

    At one time there were quite a few railroad themed hamburger joints around the Chicago area, all with the same Lionel Train delivery system. Once Snackville Junction closes, the Choo-Choo will be the only one left.

    There is one other interesting train themed place left in Chicago. Fast Tracks at the corner of Lake Street and Des Plaines Avenue (no relation or connection to the city of the same name) in Chicago has a Chicago Public Transportation theme. Photos of the old "Green Hornet" streetcars, old "El" Trains and other modes of public transport adorn the walls. There is a large scale model train running overhead on a track that follows the inside perimeter of the building. Outside seating consists of tables and benches made of welded together axles and wheels off of old subway train cars.

    They have an extensive and high quality fast food menu, not the least of which is an excellent version of the classic Chicago Style Hot Dog and an outstanding pub-style Cheeseburger. Great fresh cut fries too!!!

    Back about 18 years ago (Holy crap!) when Dad and I both worked downtown for other companies, Fast Tracks was a favorite spot to meet for lunch because it was more or less halfway between where we both worked. Wish I had reasons to visit that neighborhood more often these days.

    Fast Tracks is also one of the few businesses in that area (or the entire downtown Chicago area for that matter) that has off street parking. Not a lot, mind you, but it is there.

    Buddy


    Buddy - Is that Lake and DesPlaines in Oak Park/River Forest or elsewhere?
    #7
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    RE: End of track for Snackville Junction 2007/04/30 16:58:56 (permalink)
    That's Lake and Des Plaines in the city of Chicago, right under the "El" tracks, just west of the Loop.

    Buddy
    #8
    trainfan
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    RE: End of track for Snackville Junction 2007/05/11 16:26:17 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BuddyRoadhouse

    My daughter abe froeman(!) and I stopped in at the Choo-Choo a while back after what might have been a 15 year or more absence. The food was better than I'd remembered and it fulfilled some nice dad/daughter reminiscences along the way. I wrote about it in this thread.

    http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=11096&SearchTerms=%22choo-choo%22

    At one time there were quite a few railroad themed hamburger joints around the Chicago area, all with the same Lionel Train delivery system. Once Snackville Junction closes, the Choo-Choo will be the only one left.


    When did Choo-Choo Johnny's go out? Or do you simply consider that too far out of Chicago? We've only gone once, since it was nearly an hour out of the way.

    The Choo Choo in Des Plaines is nice, but small, often crowded, and has horrible parking, but it is a lot more convenient and we stop there often.
    #9
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    RE: End of track for Snackville Junction 2007/05/13 13:06:44 (permalink)
    While I was aware of there being numerous train themed hamburger joints in the Chicago area many years ago, I am not familiar with Choo-Choo Johnnie's in particular. Sorry I can't be of more help.

    Buddy
    #10
    Akavar
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    RE: End of track for Snackville Junction 2007/05/14 12:21:06 (permalink)
    I grew up in Beverly during the 60's. I remember going to this place for a treat. If my memory serves me correctly they were on 95th street a few blocks west of Ashland.

    One of the things I remember is that the hamburgers had a particular flavor that was different than any other hamburger. I attribute that to the fact they ground their own meat and, I would imagine, added their own spices.

    Everything was always fresh. Fresh hamburger meat, fresh french fries, and home made shakes.

    I have not gotten back to Chicago much in the last 35 years. I have wondered what happened to this wonderful burger place. Now I know.
    #11
    Jim2903
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    RE: End of track for Snackville Junction 2007/05/14 13:43:36 (permalink)
    By the time I started going there, in the late '70s, it was on Western -- near 103rd, I think -- in a storefront. The kitchen was at the back, and the counter jutted out into the front of the place. After they moved to EP, the kitchen was in the middle, with a long counter on one side and a shorter counter on the other side, requiring two separate loops of track for the trains.


    quote:
    Originally posted by Akavar

    I grew up in Beverly during the 60's. I remember going to this place for a treat. If my memory serves me correctly they were on 95th street a few blocks west of Ashland.

    One of the things I remember is that the hamburgers had a particular flavor that was different than any other hamburger. I attribute that to the fact they ground their own meat and, I would imagine, added their own spices.

    Everything was always fresh. Fresh hamburger meat, fresh french fries, and home made shakes.

    I have not gotten back to Chicago much in the last 35 years. I have wondered what happened to this wonderful burger place. Now I know.
    #12
    Akavar
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    RE: End of track for Snackville Junction 2007/05/14 14:22:39 (permalink)
    I wonder why they kept moving. Must have been because the rent kept going up. But moving can be so damaging to a restaurant. I guess they never made enough money to buy their own place.
    #13
    Jim2903
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    RE: End of track for Snackville Junction 2007/05/15 17:58:16 (permalink)
    I think they owned the EP place -- it's a free-standing building, vs. the earlier storefronts. And I know the most recent owner bought it from the previous owner about 15 years ago.
    quote:
    Originally posted by Akavar

    I wonder why they kept moving. Must have been because the rent kept going up. But moving can be so damaging to a restaurant. I guess they never made enough money to buy their own place.
    #14
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