Yesterday the kids had off school for parent teacher conferences. Proudly I have to say that my kids do not require conferences as they are both doing well.
My mom wanted to do something special with me and the kids and had read about a restaurant called Choo Choo in the newspaper a few months back. Since my youngest is crazy about trains she thought he would really like it.
The restaurant is in Des Plains, IL which is about a 40 minute drive from me, if traffic is low, it is about 1/2 hour from my mom's house. The kids and I drove to pick up my mom. Then we follwed the directions that I had printed out on Google maps to the restaurant.
Driving in down town Des Plaines was not fun. There are small streets that you can easily miss, odd traffic patterns, and several streets you are not allowed to turn on from certain directions. We made the turn on the street where the restaurant was, and we spotted the tiny restaurant, but I did not see how to get in to the parking lot so we passed it. We ended up having to go about a mile down the road before we could turn around and go back.
I was driving along the road and some guy pulled right out in front of me. I had to slam on my breaks and he started waving his arms around at me. I looked and my mom looked and we had no stop sign or stop light, but he did have a stop sign. So I thought that was really wierd, then after we turned around and were coming back it happened again, another car came pulling out right in front of me. Again my mom and I and my two older kids looked for a stop sign for the road I was on and there was none. It was really weird, it is like it is some unofficial rule of the community that you must stop for cars coming out of the side street there.
Anyways, we finally got the restaurant and figured hot to get in to the parking lot. It turned out you had to turn on to the side street, and then turn in to the parking lot.
The Choo Choo restaurant opened back in 1951 and it appears to be unchanged from that time. Everything in the restaurant looks authentic, and very 50's like.
A toy Choo Choo train rides around the counter seating to deliver the food to everyone. There are also some booths. We sat at one of the booths that were along counter so that my litte one could get a good glimpse of the train, and so that our food would be delivered by it.
There were other booths along the window, but the train does not deliver to those booths.
There was also a riding train that the kids could ride on. The train was very old, and in fact it said it was .10 a ride. But they had it set so you could just push the button and ride for free. Of course that was the first thing my 4 year old saw and he had to get on it right away. Thank goodness it was free, because he and my other son rode it several times. Even my 12 year old daughter had to ride it at least once. We sat right next to it so we could easily watch the kids ride it. It was funny because while my 4 year old was riding the train he did not notice the train riding around the restaurant delivering food.
When he finally had to sit down at the table and he saw the train for the first time, he got really excited and started screaming, "It's a train! It's a train!" He sat mesmorized watching it and pointing it out every time it came around until our food came.
The menu is fairly limited, there are hamburgers, and a few other sandwhich type things, and some chili. There were ice cream floats and sundaes for dessert or a Choo Choo cupcake which my mom got, it came with a toy whistle on it, that of course my 4 year old wanted.
Needless to say the kids all really enjoyed the restaurant and my mom and I enoyed watching them enjoy and the 50's nastalgia. They even use the same original cash register that they used when the restaurant opened back in the 50's, but that means that they do not take credit cards.
It was a fun experience.
Note: I did bring the camera to take pictures, but it was completely out of batteries when we got there. I was quite bummed out by this.