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-----Restaurants & Businesses
Cary, IL


River Bend

Standard Oil
Charter One Bank

On Route 14, across from the Old Village Hall and Cary Park, is the former location of a gas station and several restaurants. Currently, Charter One Bank is located there. Each section below traces the history of one particular building on the property.

1) Deep Rock/Standard Oil

Prior to development, the land was owned by Asa L. Weaver, who deeded it to William and Lulu Ross in 1901. Beginning in 1925, the land was divided into roughly three parcels, each with its own series of owners. The main parcel contained a gasoline filling station, which in 1930 was run by Joseph Hett and Edward Dunne. That year, a lease was signed with the Deep Rock Oil Corporation. In the 1930s and 1940s, this location was a Standard Oil service station. The design of the building was typical for the time: a small rectangular structure with an overhead canopy for all-weather refueling.

1950s: Standard Oil station (large triangular building)
Rynee's Drive-In (small building)

2) Ralph's Standard Service/Shell
---Northwest Passage
---Cafe Continental
---Practical Communications

In 1949, all three parcels came under the ownership of Rudy and Clara Petzelt. The original Standard Oil station was torn down and replaced by a much larger building. It was known as Ralph's Standard Service until 1961, when it became a Shell Oil station. The gas station closed when the lease with Shell Oil was terminated in 1973.

The building was remodeled into a restaurant and opened in 1975 as the Northwest Passage. It became Peabody's in 1979. This restaurant had late-night dining, private accomodations for up to 40 people, a deli, an ice cream parlour and nightly entertainment. Peabody's remained in business until 1983. In 1984, a bar and dance club called Magnum's opened in the building. Records indicate that a restaurant known as Cafe Continental was also located here during this time.

3) Jackie's Place
---Ronee's Snack Shop

When the new Standard Oil station was built in the early 1950s, a small restaurant was constructed next door. It was first known as Jackie's Place and Jackie's Grill. In 1953, owners Arthur and Irene Bartz changed the name of the restaurant to Rynee's Drive-In.

According to a 1953 chattel mortgage, Rynee's had a 10-foot soda fountain, 32-foot counter, 18 counter stools, two tables, four chairs and a pie display case. A menu board and two mirrors were on the wall. In the center of the building, the cooking and fountain areas were open on all sides and completely surrounded by the counter. Rynee's was a popular hangout for local high school students. It remained in business until approximately 1968, when it was taken over by Russell Flood and renamed Ronee's Snack Shop. Ronee's closed in 1970.
4) Pee Jay's/Ye Olde Inn
---Marco's Continental
---The Beefeater
---The Churchill
---Notre Game Room
---De Michel Cleaners
---Cary Depot Cleaners

In 1970, after Ronee's closed, the building was torn down and a new restaurant was built in its place. This building had a brick exterior and mansard roof, a very popular look in the 1970s. The first restaurant to open here was Pee Jay's in 1971. A few years later, the name was changed to Ye Olde Inn.

Marco's Continental moved into the building in 1974. Marco's featured Italian cuisine and was owned by Marco DiLeonardi and Joseph Barone. In 1974, the restaurant received a little extra publicity when DiLeonardi and three women were arrested for pandering and prostitution after an undercover cop infiltrated a stag party hosted there. Later in 1974, the restaurant became The Beefeater and The Churchill.

In the early 1980s, the former Pee Jay's building was the site of a video arcade called the Notre Game Room. In 1985, it was known as De Michel Deluxe Cleaners & Tailors. This business remained in the building until 1993, when it became Cary Depot Cleaners.

In 1975, the land was put into a trust and became Skwarlo's Subdivision.

In the 1970s, Route 14 became a very busy and congested highway. This particular intersection was worse than most, and the site's close proximity to the traffic light created severe access problems. As a result, it was very difficult for businesses to do well in this spot. With turnover being so high, it's possible that there are one or two additional businesses that lasted for only a short time, of which I'm not aware. As I recall, the former gas station/Northwest Passage building seemed to spend most of the time sitting empty. By the mid 1990s, both buildings were gone.

Greatbank, 2005

5) Greatbank/Charter Bank

When it was announced that a bank would be built on the property, those who were familiar with the site's history had their doubts. Greatbank opened in 2004, and in 2007 it became Charter One Bank when the Greatbank chain was purchased by Charter One's parent company. So far, it appears to be doing just fine.

River Bend, 2009
River Bend Restaurant

The River Bend restaurant was located on Rawson Bridge Road, just south of Hickory Nut Grove Lane. During its 65-year existence, it was always known as the River Bend, a name that was borrowed from the nearby River Bend Resort.

The business started out in 1938 as a tavern run by Erwin and Suzanne Moews. In the photo above, you can see the peaked roof of the original building behind the later additions. In 1949, the property was purchased by Arthur and Lena Giovannoni. The tavern was run by Arthur and his brother Nick, who added Italian food to the menu. During this time, the River Bend was known for spaghetti, ravioli, chicken cacciatore, pizza and delicious roast beef in the basket.

In 1955, both the land and the business were purchased by Marvin and Dorothy Crump. They continued the tradition of fine Italian food. When the Crumps took over, the small building was still referred to as the River Bend Tavern. It was enlarged in the 1960s, and by the early 1970s it had adopted its final appearance.
Betty Kinkade purchased the land in 1971. At this point, the restaurant was called the River Bend Supper Club. The term "supper club" conjures up images of dining, dancing and listening to your favorite tunes on the Hammond organ, and the River Bend was no exception.

In the mid 1970s, the restaurant's remote location began to take its toll, and business slowed. The River Bend was closed between 1976 and 1980.

The property was put into a land trust in 1979 and the River Bend reopened under new management in 1980. For much of the time between 1980 and 1994, the restaurant was managed by Charles and Merrily Ray, doing business as L & L River Bend Inc.

George and Alberta England bought the restaurant in 1994. Under their management, the River Bend enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. Crowds were especially large on the evenings when Mario Pizzoferrato and his electronic keyboards were the featured entertainment.

The land was deeded to Robert and Barrie Gwinn in 2005. The property went into foreclosure in 2006 and the restaurant was closed. The building is still standing, and the property is still owned by the bank, who put the entire ten acres up for sale in 2011.

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