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Winter 2006 • Volume 12, Issue 1

“Milkshakes and Study Breaks”

Fall cover imageMy husband, Robert Leib ’71, and I enjoyed the current issue of Hilltopics featuring “Milkshakes and Study Breaks” probably more than any previous issue.

However, two of our favorite restaurants were Davis Bros. Pizza, and for special occasions, Vonachen’s Junction, a restaurant located in the car of a train. These were not mentioned in the ’60s and ’70s section. We have not been back to Peoria since 1971, but this article brought back fond memories—gastronomic and otherwise!

Judy Friduss Leib ’71
Villanova, PA

My applause for your article (Gayle Erwin McDowell ’77) on the hangouts we frequented while at Bradley. I remember Hunt’s well. A friend of mine (Greg Florey ’69) ate lunch there every day! According to your article, it closed. What a pity. Now onto other memories. I realize you can’t get all of them, but Sie’s and The CI (College Inn) were visited by all sneaking the suds, and the food wasn’t bad either. The two establishments were down the hill, just past Hunt’s on the left hand side. They really were in competition with each other, but Sie’s dominated. Perhaps these two places were just left out in favor of more delicate reading.
Now Davis Bros. in East Peoria had the best pizzas in the area. It had the best thin crust pizza anywhere. Whenever we could scrounge up a car (the Greeks were lucky as they had them most of the time), we all fell out for pizza across the river in a rather industrial part of that town.

I see part of your article is about fine dining. Certainly, when parents came for a visit, we went to the Pere Marquette, Kramer’s, and the unmentioned Vonachen’s Junction. I think it has changed its theme and type of food now, but then it was marvelous…pate de fois, crown rack of lamb, filet, etc. There were one or two railroad cars that you could dine in, plus a restaurant with real walls. Yes, it was in Peoria Heights, out past Pabst Blue Ribbon. I understand that even Pabst has been demolished. Is there no justice?

Ed Staley ’70, Modesto, CA

(Editor’s note: Davis Bros. Pizza opened a Peoria location on Glen Avenue in 2002. Vonachen’s Old Place closed last summer and recently reopened as Bud’s Steakhouse.)

You have done a masterful job to assemble so much in great detail. Your cover, the photos, the layout, the many interviews with personal stories all make for an enjoyable evening for alums. I find myself going back and rereading, for one incident leads to another fond memory. It is a great issue, and Gayle Erwin McDowell ’77 should be proud to have covered the action and time frame in such detail.

This issue will be a “keeper” for me.

Marion Putnam Bohner ’38, Peoria, IL

As always, the first thing to read when it arrives in my mail is my new Hilltopics. And, once again, the article about Hunt’s and Kramer’s hits close to home. As a child, I knew Mr. Kramer, Mr. Hunt, and certainly his son, Gordon [Hunt]; these men were accounts of my father’s, who sold them J.D. Roszell Dairy Co. products for many years. I have fond memories of going with him to call on these restaurants and of seeing “my name” in print on their walls, on their menus, and on their billboards. Thanks for this nostalgic trip down memory lane!

Roger Roszell ’57 MBA ‘59, Sarasota, FL

I absolutely enjoyed this article [“Milkshakes and Study Breaks”]. I’m sure, however, that I speak for many when I ask, “Why was Taco Gringo not mentioned?” 

Ray Asher ’82, Chicago, IL

I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the article on the restaurants. I even took the issue to my parents the next day so they could take a walk down memory lane. Even though I was a non-traditional Bradley student, I grew up in Peoria and fondly remember the “old” Hunt’s and the “old” Avanti’s. Just a few weeks earlier, we were trying to remember the name of Mr. Chips. Lots of good times!

I also appreciate the article about Tourette Syndrome by Aimee Roy. It’s great to get the word out so that people have a better understanding and that those who struggle with it have yet another role model. It was a great issue.

Laurie Hahn ’04, Peoria, IL

I just received the issue concerning restaurants around campus. In the 1960s section, there is the following “...Swiss emigrant Albert Zeller purchased a little-known Italian restaurant called Lardano’s.” Lardano’s was not little known; it was a big-time hangout, virtually right next door to campus. We referred to it as “The Drain.” But what did we know? We were 19 and would
eat anything.

Also there is the following on page 14: “...it helped to have something more unique.” Now, I was just an accounting major, but even I know that something is either unique or it is not. Something can’t be more or less unique. It is a binary situation. Like pregnant.

Larry Jacobs ‘67, Oakland, CA

Agatucci’s may have been the first restaurant to introduce pizza to Peoria in 1954, but Theta Xi fraternity had pizza parties on campus in 1951 and 1952. How do I know? I made the pizzas from scratch in the Theta Xi kitchen. I was the kitchen manager for those two years. Theta Xi was then located on Fredonia Avenue, the current location of Sigma Kappa sorority.

Robert Pitra ’52, Glen Ellyn, IL

I enjoyed your article in the fall issue of Hilltopics. It is always fun to go nostalgically down memory lane as Gayle Erwin McDowell ’77 did in her article “Milkshakes and Study Breaks.” When a former student returns to the Bradley campus today, it is often hard
to envision what was there when one was a student.

As a 1955 graduate, I have a recollection of all of those you mentioned, but I was surprised by what I think was a definite oversight. The reference was made to Kern’s as one popular “greasy spoon,” but the “greasy spoon” I remember was Boyle’s, located one-half block south of Main on University on the east side of the street. It was a small place, but was certainly patronized by the Bradley students who lived in Harper Hall and the (then) new dormitories a block away at Main and Elmwood. Kern’s may have had more of a selection, but Boyle’s did a good job with eggs for breakfast or a hamburger for noon, supper, or a late night snack.

I remember well the pork tenderloin sandwich at Hunt’s. Before Agatucci’s, my introduction to pizza was at a downtown location called the Flamingo, and I spent many nights driving there to bring pizza back to campus. Another food spot that started in the ‘50s (I believe) was John’s BBQ that was famous for its ribs and became very popular with Bradley students. I know the article was not intended to be all-inclusive, but I thought I should point out the absence of Boyle’s and throw the rest in for good measure.

You are doing a great job with Bradley Hilltopics. It always makes for interesting reading.

Ron McGauvran ’55, Clinton, IA

I was delighted to get the Bradley Hilltopics today in the mail. The cover was eye-catching; I couldn’t wait to open the magazine and walk through the memory lane of places I’ve eaten while taking classes at Bradley. I want to offer my compliments to Gayle Erwin McDowell ’77 for fantastic research and a positively great job on the article. The pictures were fun, and Gayle provided great recollections of fun times and great food. What an excellent member of your staff.

After looking over the cover, I naturally turned to the inside cover to discover what other wonderful articles were
inside. I immediately recognized Joe Stowell ’50 MA ’56. By the way, great interview, Justin Phelps ‘05; you scored a goal with me! I read [Nancy Ridgeway’s] stem cell article, excellent; and I do mean excellent. I have been reading articles from National Dr. Craig CadyGeographic and Scientific American on stem cell research. This article captured all the main points on the subject and brought them home, right here in Peoria. Just wonderful!

Steve Richards, Pekin, IL

Kudos to Dr. Craig Cady

I would like to thank you for the article, “Microscopes, Lab Coats, and Stem Cells.” In particular, I would like to commend Dr. Craig Cady, and his assistant Kate Koehler Pastucha ‘06, for using only human bone marrow, rat bone marrow, and human umbilical cord stem cells for their research. I firmly believe that using embryonic stem cells would be highly unethical.

Please convey my thanks and applause to Dr. Cady and Kate Pastucha!

Maureen A. Corrington, Peoria, IL

 

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