Posting Date: February 18, 2004
Rail fare: Train lovers make tracks for Frankfort eatery
By Karen Hanson - SUN CORRESPONDENT
The whistle blows, and the train chugs smoothly
around the curve as eager-eyed children wait for a special delivery:
A year after opening, Choo-Choo Johnny's,
at 667 N. La Grange Road in Frankfort, is not only a popular spot with
local kids, but a regional tourist destination for train aficionados
of all ages. "It's a big hit," said Jim Branning of Frankfort.
"This place gets pretty crowded at lunch." Branning's sons,
Nicholas, 9, and Michael, 5, recently brought their aunt from Indiana
to eat amid the model trains. The restaurant is also open for dinner.
The food delivery train runs from the kitchen
around a 100-foot counter, an arm's length from where diners sit. The
engine pulls a cargo of plastic baskets designed to hold the customers'
orders. A waitress wearing a conductor's cap and overalls unloads the
train and delivers the orders.
Another model train circles the
entire restaurant on a shelf near the ceiling. And when kids get restless,
they can play with an interactive train city. The restaurant is decorated
with pictures of trains and replicas of railroad signs. There are traditional
dining booths along the walls. A private room is available for parties.