The Circa ’57 diner closed Tuesday after two years at the southwest corner of Campbell Street and Vail Avenue Arlington Heights.
Owners Anthony and Kimberly Priola recently told about 20 employees that they had to let them go with the closing of the business. The Priola’s are putting the building up for sale — working with Transwestern in Schaumburg, and with Sperry Van Ness in Wheeling.
Circa ’57 opened in 2013 with an abundance of late 50’s memorabilia, including the front end of a 1957 Buick Special on the wall over the soda counter and kitchen behind.
In a second phase of operation, the 1957 kitchen of the future was opened at the west end of the restaurant.
The diner featured popular home cooking style meals including chicken pot pie, pigs in a blanket, meatloaf and hamburgers.
The restaurant had not updated their Facebook page since July 30, 2015. There is no farewll message, but the restaurant does page does report the restaurant is permanently closed in the “hours” section.
On Facebook, the restaurant earned 4.1 out of 5 stars. Of 152 reviews, many were favorable, but many also criticized the cost.The decor had a lot of energy, but for some reason it wasn’t enough to bring a lot of return business.
One strange arrangement of the restaurant were offsite bathrooms. Diners had to walk out into the vestibule of the Metropolis Ballroom. The carpeting in the vestibule was dirty and the air smelled musty and stagnant. Walking out into the dirty vestibule was like waking up from a nice dream. The bathroom was clean enough, but with all the space and expense for the decor, it probably would have been best to keep the whole 50’s experience internal and include the bathrooms coordinated with the late 50’s decor.
The whole Circa ’57 project was very ambitious and obviously a labor of love for the owners. It may have been more successful in the 80’s when the spirit of the 50’s was only three decades old. Whatever the reason a lot of people are sad to see it didn’t survive.
Circa ’57 closed as Cortland’s Garage is set to give new energy to the intersection and the old Harry’s of Arlington building at 1 North Vail Avenue.
Matt Avery, of Classic Recollections, heads to Circa 57, a retro diner-themed restaurant in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
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