Nov 2, 2009

The Blackhawk Says Goodbye

Dot's Diary, Friday, June 8, 1945:
“Today was the night of the Prom and what a night. Jim looked awfully cute. He brought me a lovely carnation corsage. The Michigan Ballroom was beautiful. Jim and I danced every dance. Then we went to the Blackhawk Restaurant and danced to the music of Del Courtney. We stayed there 2-1/2 hours and then rode around the lake. Wound up at the Latin Quarter. We wanted to go to more places but they were all closed. Got in the house at 6:15 a.m. Ummmm... what a night.”
Fast forward to November 2, 2009:
Employees are getting the word at this very moment: Don Roth's Blackhawk, which is celebrating 40 years in Wheeling, will close its doors for keeps at the end of the year.

“I come to this meeting with mixed emotions and heavy heart," said Ann Roth, wife of the late Don Roth, in a prepared statement. "It became crystal clear, that with my pushing 90 and with none of my children choosing to run the business, that 40 great years here were really quite enough for me.” [...] The announcement gives patrons plenty of opportunities to visit Don Roth's Blackhawk for one more meal. Or two.

"I expect the next two months to be busy," says longtime general manager Bob Vorachek. "I think there are a lot of people for whom the Blackhawk was a part of their lives, and they'll want to take one last spin, as it were."

New Year's Eve at Don Roth's ought to be quite an event, however bittersweet.

“We're going to go out while the Blackhawk is still a going concern, and still popular," Vorachek says. "The family is doing it the right way, with our heads held high and pleased that we were part of this history.”
That original Blackhawk at Wabash and Randolph, is no longer there. But I'll be at the Wheeling location one night during the next two months, thinking of another night, 64 years ago, and Dot and Jim.

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