The other day while cruising around Peoria I noticed there are quite a few notable vacant buildings still standing. Some don't look much different than they did while they were operating in business, while others are boarded or rehabbed. These buildings are not so much landmarks but once Peoria hot spots or popular locales from the past. Let’s take a little tour of some of them.
Pizza Hut on Sterling Avenue and Western Avenue
Once the big daddy of chain pizza places Pizza Hut was usurped by cheaper Little Caesars and Papa Johns. Pizza Hut still exists but only as carryout restaurants. East Peoria is still a dining room site. I find it noteworthy that the more popular locally owned restaurants are pizza joints, something that I guess does not work as a chain.
Town and Country Bowling Alley at the intersection of Forrest Hill and Gale
Cohen Furniture on Adams Street
Cohen's downtown store was once the king of local furniture stores in Peoria. Cohen's outlasted Fredman Brothers, Kaufman's, and Lowensteins. They closed the Sheridan Village location about 7 years ago.
Hunts on Farmington Road
This building was once home of the greatest tenderloins in Peoria, located near Bradley Park on Farmington Road. Hunts Closed around five years ago, the building changed occupants but is once again empty.
Strode Music on the bottom of Western Avenue
Strode’s was the place for school music equipment rentals back in the day. It stayed open until the early '90's still selling vintage sheet music and amp tubes.
Miracle Mart on South Adams
Miracle Mart was a popular variety store in Peoria in the '50's through the '70's, selling everything from 45 rpm records to garden hoses. Before the big box chains K Mart and Wal-Mart took over it was still possible to run a locally owned variety store. I remember going here often in the '60's to discover hard to find GI Joe gear. Adams Supermarket had a short-lived life here recently. Miracle Mart on Glen Avenue lasted until the mid-90's. Sherman's is now at that location.
Chantilly Lace on North University
This nightclub was a long standing oldies bar on North University since the '70's. Catering mostly to the over 40 crowd, it went down faster than a Big Bopper airplane when a similar themed bar, American Pi, opened on North Knoxville.
American Pi on North Knoxville
Which leads us to American Pi, a location that had housed numerous failed restaurants and steakhouses since the ‘60’s. Again, appealing to the 40 plus crowd only this time using a '70's song title for the bar name/math equation, which itself was a very bad pun. Can’t wait for the oldies-themed, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" opening of this bar in a decade or so. Hello, hello, hello...