For a few minutes on Saturday afternoon, the happiest place on earth. At least in our little booth, that is. Luscious onion rings with thick slices of sweet onion. The coffee with “rich whipping cream” sounded very temping, but I changed to a Diet Coke at the last second – got to balance the hot with cold, the greasy with acidy carbonation, ya know. The veggie burger was huge and oval shaped – reminiscent of those platter-shaped pork tenderloin sandwiches you can get in Iowa diners. Two perfect little cupcakes topped with train engine whistles tasted like they were baked that morning.
The whole place buzzed with joyous clanging and merry music – just enough to keep the girls jazzed, but way below frenzied. A tiny train rolled out from the kitchen, bearing baskets of burgers and fries. It circled the counter, much to the delight of the kids crowded around the perimeter. A waitress pulled a cord to hoot a train horn and a loud recording of “Happy Birthday” sang out over the speakers. And Mommy and Daddy got a kick out of the wardrobe-sized antique air conditioning unit.
The Choo Choo Restaurant, 600 Lee Street, Des Plaines, Illinois