Jun 082010

Fire crews from nearly a half-dozen towns battled a blaze Tuesday night in a historic Grundy County restaurant which was a hangout for Chicago mobster Al Capone, fire officials said.

The fire began at about 8 p.m. at the Riviera Roadhouse, 5650 S. Illinois Route 53, along the historic Route 66, according to an official with the Gardner Volunteer Fire Department.

The fire official said explosions were reported in the restaurant. No one was reported injured in the fire.

The restaurant was built in 1928 and claims to be a former Al Capone hangout, according to RoadsideAmerica.com. The restaurant had its dining area and bar in the basement of a huge old house where people would dance and drink during Prohibition. The owners said there was a vault in the restaurant where Capone and his cronies would hide booze and slot machines during a raid.

Note from Ed Klein – Route 66 World: This is a sad ending to an ugly battle. Now, not only do we lose a piece of history, but the world has literally lost a wonderful tourist attraction that has been around for generations. I spoke with the owner on several occasions and he was truly upset about the fact he simply couldn’t enjoy his ‘hobby’ due to legal battles. It is a sad day for Route 66.

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