December 4, 2023


Professional waiter experts

Bob Chinn, founder of Bob Chinn’s Crab house, famed Wheeling restaurant, dead at 99

Bob Chinn, whose Bob Chinn’s Crab House on Milwaukee Avenue in Wheeling brought droves of customers to the northwest suburbs and grew to become just one of the nation’s optimum-grossing dining places, died Friday at 99.

“He lived everyday living to the fullest in each scenario,” stated Carly LeTourneau, Mr. Chinn’s granddaughter.

Mr. Chinn was the third of seven little ones and the son of Chinese immigrants. He was born in Duluth, Minnesota, and his family members moved to Chicago when he was 8.

He gathered vacant pop bottles in the vicinity of Wrigley Field to receive the cash on the deposits and passed out fliers for the Vogue motion picture theater in Uptown, he after instructed the Chicago Solar-Periods.

Mr. Chinn began delivering Chinese food on foot at 14 and dropped out of large faculty to be a part of the Army through Planet War II, serving for three many years outside the house Belfast, Northern Eire.

A “serial entrepreneur,” Mr. Chinn began opening dining places. One particular of his early ventures, in Miami Seashore, swiftly unsuccessful, but he carried on in the Chicago suburbs.

Bob Chinn talks to customers at his restaurant in 1999.

Bob Chinn talks to clients at his cafe in 1999.

Very little was off the desk —a Chinese takeout place in Wilmette that also served pizza? Mr. Chinn did it. A refreshing seafood restaurant in the middle of the nation? That was Bob Chinn’s Crab Dwelling. Mr. Chinn opened it in Wheeling in 1982 with his daughter Marilyn Chinn LeTourneau.

“He was so passionate, it didn’t make any difference what it was,” Carly LeTourneau mentioned. “If he was providing cafe gear or if he was advertising shrimp or if he was at a racetrack betting on ponies, he did it like he did not treatment who was observing.”

The Wheeling cafe took in $24 million a yr in food items gross sales on your own and was named by Forbes magazine as the best-grossing cafe in the country in 2012.

It experienced 700 seats and served 2,500 foods a day, traveling in 3,000 pounds of refreshing seafood day by day.

The solution to operating 1 of the most successful places to eat in the country?

“The good quality of the food stuff, how folks ended up treated, that they had pleasurable and that every person was like outdated friends when they arrived in,” Marilyn Chinn LeTourneau claimed.

And every person was friends with Bob Chinn.

“If you talked to him once, it felt like you understood him,” claimed Maile LeTourneau, a different of Mr. Chinn’s granddaughters. “You have no idea how several folks will say to us, ‘Oh I knew Bob,’ and they satisfied him a person time. But you definitely did come to feel like you understood him mainly because he produced you feel cozy.”

Mr. Chinn was in the cafe 7 days a 7 days until finally he was 90, his family members said.

When he wasn’t there, staff could anticipate to hear the whirring of the fax equipment with a take note telling them to verify out an write-up he had go through or giving directions to supervisors.

“We’ve bought massive footwear to fill, but his passion for what he did was handed onto us,” Carly LeTourneau mentioned.

Outside of the crab house, Mr. Chinn lived spontaneously —driving his family from the horse monitor in Albany, New York, to Montreal as soon as for meal mainly because he read about a good barbecue location there. Or heading the reverse way to acquire his granddaughter to see an MTV display getting filmed in Occasions Sq..

“I really do not know how numerous men and women know, but he was hilarious,” Carly Le Tourneau mentioned. “He had the fastest wit, even up right until a short while ago. His swift wondering, and his humor was some thing that built a substantial affect on all of us.”

Mr. Chinn’s aim was to have people “feel the pleasure and the hurry and the passion he had for particular things,” Carly Le Tourneau claimed.

“I believe in offering people an knowledge that stays with them,” Mr. Chinn informed the Solar-Situations in 1999. “And the most significant factor is to have the food to do it. I have traveled a lot of locations to see what’s out there. And I try to strengthen a little something every single working day of my existence.”

Jean Chinn, Mr. Chinn’s spouse of 62 a long time, died in 2016. He is survived by his brother Howard Chinn, daughter Marilyn Chinn LeTourneau, son Michael Chinn, seven grandchildren and 10 good-grandchildren. His daughter Barbara Chinn died in 2014.

His household is setting up a public celebration of everyday living, with aspects to be posted on the restaurant’s Fb webpage.