From David Wickline's "Images of 66." printed 2006.
**** RIVIERA ROADHOUSE (1928)-- at 5650 Route 53 (the new highway designation for this section of the old Route 66), Gardner, Illinois. Was a famous Al Capone hangout and speakeasy. It also sold gasoline in the 1930's. The restaurant and kitchen were upstairs and the tavern was on the lower level.
The Riviera is famous for its its man-made stalactites and raised "thrones" in the Rest Rooms.
The building was pieced together from a church, a coal mining office and once had Riviera Beer Garden painted on the roof in large letters.
Bob and Peggy Kraft, Proprietors since 1971. (815) 237-2344.
**** HISTORIC HORSE DRAWN STREETCAR-- which became a diner in 1932, is located behind the Riviera Roadhouse and is over 100 years old. It closed in 1939 and has recently been restored by the Route 66 Association of Illinois.
Of course, sadly, the Riviera is no more. We haven't driven past it since it burned down in 2010. It would be too sad. And, Bob and Peggy are no longer with us. I imagine somewhere Peggy is preparing her great food (especially that spaghetti sauce!!) and Bob is "holding court" behind some heavenly bar.
Miss It All. --RoadDog
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