Bob Chinn, the creator of a longtime Restaurant Row anchor in Wheeling that has received neighborhood and nationwide recognition as very well as innumerable enthusiasts who’ve manufactured it one particular of the highest-grossing eating places in the place, has died at age 99, the restaurant said Friday.

“Today we shed a legend,” Bob Chinn’s Crab Residence posted on its Fb website page. “It’s with an very heavy heart that we announce the passing of our fearless chief, our friend, our household member — the one and only, Bob Chinn.”

“To know him was to enjoy him, and he was acknowledged by so a lot of. His much larger-than-existence temperament and renowned tastebuds gave us 99 superb years of pleasure, innovation and numerous smiles.”

The restaurant administration referred inquiries to Chinn’s family, which has not yet commented.

Chinn was 59 and by now an experienced businessman and restaurateur when he and his daughter Marilyn Chinn LeTourneau opened the cafe that would come to define his legacy.




The target was good: to run a seafood restaurant countless numbers of miles from wherever the most effective new seafood is caught.

Following around 4 years of preparing and growth, the restaurant opened two days in advance of Christmas in 1982 and caught on with diners. Its 175-seat capability grew to 650 seats in just a number of years. Now it has 800 seats, the restaurant’s Facebook page claims.

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Chinn claimed he picked Wheeling for his cafe simply because he needed to entice clients from both of those the city and the Northern suburbs but without having acquiring to spend North Shore serious estate selling prices.

Although buyer favorites like the garlic rolls and mai tais are normally out there, substantially of the menu alterations based mostly on the seafood that is jetted in from Alaska, Hawaii or even farther away. The restaurant workers typically picks up the seafood several occasions a day right from O’Hare Global Airport.

The Crab Household claims it employs at least a several hundred men and women. The staggering crowds have landed the restaurant on spectacular lists over the several years, these types of as in 2012 when Forbes declared Bob Chinn’s to be the country’s highest-grossing cafe right after estimating it introduced in $24 million in yearly profits, not which includes alcohol gross sales.

“I feel so thrilled about this, for me, a very little businessman, to get this variety of recognition,” Chinn instructed the Every day Herald immediately after the Forbes piece.

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

 

Chinn chalked the restaurant’s accomplishment up to the fundamentals: providing really acceptable costs, excellent food items and terrific, friendly provider.

Chinn was born in Duluth, Minnesota on March 2, 1923, the 3rd of 7 youngsters, according to a profile on the Bob Chinn’s web-site. His parents, Wai and Yung Shee Ong Chinn, immigrated from Toishan, a metropolis in southeastern China in close proximity to Macao. His mothers and fathers ran a cafe in Chicago, and the spouse and children lived just two blocks from Wrigley Field, which kindled Bob’s lifelong Cubs fandom.

Some careers commence with a spark of inspiration. In Chinn’s case, that spark was an real fire. He opened his first restaurant, The Golden Pagoda in Evanston, working with equipment his mothers and fathers offered to him immediately after their restaurant was weakened by a fireplace, the Bob Chinn’s web page says.

Numerous other dining places adopted about the many years, but none introduced him almost as significantly adulation as his eponymous crab house.

The restaurant’s Fb publish saying the news created hundreds of responses, these as “He hardly ever failed to make us experience like a visitor in his very own property” and “For decades we have been going to Bob Chinn’s.” Many explained Chinn often greeted them with a smile, and they supplied anecdotes like how he gave out totally free mimosas to folks ready in line.

Previous personnel also commented.

“I invested 9 several years at Chinn’s & designed some seriously expensive friends there,” Lisa Langfeldt posted. “You could always master one thing from Bob.”