Live, from Peoria, Illinois, it’s Saturday Night Cheeseburger starring this week’s host, Herold’s Pizza Inn and featuring the Ready For Prime Beef Player, Marty Wombacher. And now, please welcome this week’s host, Herold’s Pizza Inn!
And it's off we go on another Saturday Night Cheeseburger adventure. You may wonder why we're going to a pizza parlor on a night that we usually seek out a cheeseburger, well it's because family-owned Herold's Pizza Inn is closing after being in the same location here in Peoria since 1967. I wanted to document the last night there, so we'll forego the cheeseburger for one week.
This place has been here on this corner for as long as I can remember. It sure will be strange when it's gone.
Let's go in while the "Open" sign is still lit. The clock is ticking.
See what I mean? A goodbye note hangs on the door from current owner, Chris Herold. His parents, Chuck and Maggie opened the pizza parlor back in 1967.
There's a lot of people inside and everyone's taking photos and sharing memories of time spent in the Pizza Inn.
Here's current owner, Chris Herold behind the cash register. Chris said they had the biggest night ever last Saturday night. Talk about bittersweet. If everyone would've been as loyal as last Saturday night, it would still be open.
This is the buffet area in the front of the restaurant.
There's a large dining room back here. It's getting close to closing time, so most people are gone, but a few remain...
Like Tori and Dick here at this booth enjoying their last slices of a Pizza Inn pizza. It turns out that Tori reads this blog daily, so I sat down and had a couple of beers with them. We had a great conversation about the blog, Peoria, high school and of course, the Pizza Inn. This is one of the things I love about doing this blog, meeting cool people out on the town.
Here's Sarah, Debbie and Vicky who were just finishing up their meal a couple of booths down.
A vintage menu from years gone by hangs on the wall.
The front counter is clearing out as the final closing time is nearing for Herold's Pizza Inn.
The lights in the dining room are dimmed as one more family-owned restaurant in Peoria comes to a close. Remember this picture the next time you step in to a chain restaurant.
There's a bar in the back and thankfully, that's going to stay open, so I naturally drifted back there.
Before I got in the bar Max Cloat approached me and said hi. Max is a MBIP reader who sent me some swizzle sticks a little bit ago, you can see them here if you scroll down to the end of this post. Max worked here at Pizza Inn years ago and he's the one who notified me that this was the last night for the pizza parlor. It was great to meet Max and we had a nice conversation.
While I was talking to Max, Joe approached us and said he was a big fan of the blog, which is always nice to hear, so I took out the trusty MBIP camera and got a shot of Joe with Max.
The bar was packed with people sharing Pizza Inn memories and stories from days gone by.
Eric the bartender on duty for the evening was busy keeping everyone's glasses full.
Joni told me she had worked at the Pizza Inn since she was 15 and was proud to have been part of the Herold Pizza Inn family.
Chris and Eric keep the mood festive as they exchange some laughs behind the bar.
Here's Chris posing outside in front of the front window with friends and former and current workers for Herold's Pizza Inn.
Back inside the group shares a shot together at the bar.
Cheers to the Pizza Inn!
Chris told me it was a bittersweet night for him and I think that this picture tells that story. We'll see you all tomorrow.
Herold's Pizza Inn—1967 - 2013.
Happy Labor Day!