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The Chicago Traveler

Lunch Locomotives

by Matt B on February 12th, 2008

Sometimes, taking kids out to eat is an incredible chore. You have to get them dressed, order food they won't scoff at, and keep them entertained throughout the meal. A few restaurants in the Chicagoland area though are perfect for children though, playing on many of their fascinations with trains.

snackville junction One of the oldest eateries in the area serves up its food with a little help from an electric toy train: Snackville Junction in south-suburban Evergreen Park. Kids today love it just as much as when it all began 60 years ago. With the sound of a deep whistle and tiny wheels clickety-clacking on the rails, hot dogs, hamburgers, and French fries are all delivered to mesmerized children and adults. Of course, there's a lollipop waiting for you too, but only if you finish all your food!

The Choo-Choo in Des Plaines has been chugging along for more than 50 years. In fact, the owner, Jean Paxton, was once a regular at the establishment long before she put on the conductor's hat. The kid-friendly formula's still pretty much the same as it was when the restaurant first opened in 1951. The train circles the counters, dropping off burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, and onion rings along the way. It's no surprise this place is so popular, so get there early. And be courteous to those waiting behind you!

2 toots train whistle grill Downers Grove has yet another restaurant with the rails in mind. It's called the 2 Toots Train Whistle Grill. Customers line up every morning before the doors open, just across the tracks from the Downers Grove Metra station. Kids get to watch the real trains outside while the toy versions make their rounds and drop off orders inside. The specialties are the burgers and fries, but Two Toots also serves up other sandwiches like chicken breast, egg salad, and chili dogs. Finally, the train delivers homemade treats, including cupcakes, brownies, and Rice Krispies Treats.

With great food and fun atmospheres, these places are great visits for train fans of all ages.

Photo credit: marmotfotos, ManoRegejimas

Snackville Junction ($): 9144 S Kedzie Ave (Evergreen Park); 708-423-1313
Mon ' Fri: 11:00 a.m. ' 8:00 p.m.
Sat: 9:00 a.m. ' 8:00 p.m.
Sun: 11:00 a.m. ' 5:00 p.m.
Free parking lot
Public trans: Bus # 52A

The Choo-Choo ($): 600 Lee St (Des Plaines); 847-391-9815
Sat ' Wed: 10:30 a.m. ' 3:00 p.m.
Thurs ' Fri: 10:30 a.m. ' 8:00 p.m.
Free parking lot
Public trans: (Pace) Bus # 208, 226, 234, 250
Metra Union Pacific Northwest Line train (Des Plaines)

2 Toots Train Whistle Grill ($): 950 Warren Ave (Downers Grove); 630-729-0235
Mon ' Fri: 11:00 a.m. ' 8:00 p.m.
Sat ' Sun: 11:00 a.m. ' 4:30 p.m.
Public trans: Metra Burlington Northern Santa Fe train (Downers Grove ' Main St)

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POSTED IN: Hot Dogs, Restaurants

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