A sign taped to the Elgin spot’s door states, “We are closed. We would like to thank the Elgin community for 40 great years.” It lists the small chain’s remaining spots — Algonquin, Aurora, Naperville and two places in St. Charles.
The pages for the Elgin and Crystal Lake locations have been removed from the Colonial Cafe website and from Facebook, and staff answering calls at each location said the two sites had closed for good.
A company spokesperson referred the Courier-News to the business’s Facebook page. An answer to a question asked there states that all employees have been offered jobs at the remaining locations.
According to the company’s website, the Colonial Cafe near Elgin Community College along McLean Boulevard was built from the ground up and opened in 1978 as the company’s second restaurant.
The company remodeled a shuttered Golden Bear restaurant near the now-defunct Crystal Point Mall off Route 14 in Crystal Lake to open there in 1985, the site states. The restaurant moved from that location a block away into a former Baker’s Square along Route 14, which was remodeled and opened as a Colonial in 2011.
According to the St. Charles Historic Buildings website, which is maintained by the St. Charles Public Library, Colonial Cafe can trace its roots to 1901 and the St. Charles Pure Milk Company, which also was known as the Anderson Dairy.
Over the next few decades, the Anderson family grew the business to include ice cream, then switched gears to focus solely on its Colonial Ice Cream business. The company opened its first restaurant in the late 1950s in St. Charles.
The restaurants are known for their Kitchen Sink dessert, a huge banana split invented in 1976 that includes two bananas, six scoops of ice cream, whipped cream and toppings.
Glenna Godinsky, life enrichment liaison at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, had scheduled Memory Cafe program meetings at Elgin’s Colonial Cafe. Monday afternoon, Godinsky said the meetings will be rescheduled to another nearby venue, with details to be announced soon.
The Memory Cafe — a partnership involving the Elgin library, Senior Services Associates, the Sheridan at Tyler Creek Senior Living and Colonial Cafe — was set up for people with mild cognitive impairment and their caregivers to socialize with others experiencing the same challenges.
“We were surprised and saddened to learn Colonial was closing. We appreciated that the staff there had trained to become a dementia-friendly location,” Godinsky said.