Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Higgley's Restaurant, Arlington Heights

Higgley's Restaurant
2240 S. Arlington Heights Road
Arlington Heights, IL 60005

November 17, 2007

HiggleysFront HiggleysBack

I used to live about a half mile down the road from Higgley's. I probably dined there on fewer than a half-dozen occasions, but I loved the place. Really, I did. Great comfort food, and it was cheap! Higgley's was usually close to empty in the late afternoon, well after the midday lunch rush but before the early dinner customers would begin to show up. That's when I would usually wander in, awaiting free rolls and the sense of reassurance that comes from being the youngest person in the room. Usually, I'd order a soup and sandwich, but I liked their pancakes too, and was looking forward to trying them again, for the first time in over a year. Higgley's wasn't exclusively a breakfast restaurant, but breakfast was always on the menu, and the atmosphere felt like a pancake house, or at least a family restaurant. Though unfortunately, I never saw any actual families at any of the tables. They were probably at the Denny's across the street on Algonquin Road, or in the IHOP a half mile to the north on Golf Road. Their loss.

So maybe I should have seen it coming, but I was still shocked and saddened when we pulled into the Higgley's parking lot, found it to be distressingly empty, and then saw the neon green posterboard taped to the front door.


So what's the story? "CLOSED DUE TO NON-RENEWAL OF LEASE" doesn't really explain why Higgley's closed. As a restaurant that had been open and operating successfully for years (more than ten, at least twenty, I'm assuming), surely the owners of the business itself would also own the actual property that it was housed in. Right? Or so it would seem. So did Higgley's bow out on their own free will, or did CVS put up an offer that the landowners couldn't refuse?

I could have sworn that Higgley's was open during the past few times that I've driven past it. Should have stopped in while I had the chance, but apparently that chance passed by a long time ago. This blog hosts the only complete news story on the matter that's still online, and the article is more than a year old. So strange to see the same sign still taped to the window today. The latest rumor is that a new BP Station could be moving in, demolishing Higgley's as well as, wait for it... the old BP station next door! This new station would be complete with an AMPM store. If you haven't been inside one, it's a laughable "store-within-a-store" that sells ordinary gas station food and soft drinks in appallingly giant cups. Sometimes those also have a Wild Bean Cafe inside. If you loved the authentic, retro-'50s experience of Wal-Mart's Radio Grill, you'll love the friendly baristas, comfy armchairs, and the Friday night poetry slams at the Wild Bean Cafe.

Ayinsan here. I've only been to Higgley's once. This was back when Joe lived in Arlington Heights and the two of us went there. I had their pancakes, which were decent. The only detail I remember clearly is that their syrup came in little packages rather than the traditional container with a pour-spout and handle, but I, too, was sad to see this little restaurant close down, especially since it might be replaced with yet another CVS. Honestly, how many of those do we need?

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