Restaurant Visit: Circa 57 in Arlington Heights

We have been eyeing Circa 57 since it opened. The problem is that Music Man and I are eyeing it through different lenses.

Circa 57 is a new restaurant in downtown Arlington Heights, Illinois, and includes the space at the corner of Vail and Campbell previously occupied by the Grand Station restaurant and Peoples Bank. It’s got a wonderful location!

I was intrigued by the possibilities of their food mission. Music Man wasn’t so sure — he wasn’t interested in ever going back to the food of 1957, thank you very much. I was relieved to actually see the menu. Even though it includes throwback style food, many of the offerings are updated for the more sophisticated tastes of today.

“Get ready for a time warp Arlington Heights!  A place where the food is good and the cars have fins.  A time when some of the simple pleasures of life meant things like sharing a milkshake at the soda fountain, the daily Blue Plate Special at the diner, a hearty home cooked meal by mom, or a Tbone steak off of dad’s backyard grill on a summer night” (source).

GotMyReservations Circa 57 Diner Kitchen and CounterWe wanted to go to breakfast (menu here) on Saturday morning, and figured that even a 1957 diner couldn’t do breakfast badly. I was encouraged by the attention to detail in the decor. The working jukeboxes were complete with 1957 tunes.

GotMyReservations Circa 57 Diner Jukebox

The meals were served on rose and aqua Fiestaware — totally appropriate.

GotMyReservations Circa 57 Diner Fiestaware 2

I am a corned beef hash aficionado and ordered the Route 66 Smoked Brisket Hash. Bad choice — and I’ve rarely met a hash I didn’t like. The brisket was cut up into tiny cubes, but it was dried out and almost tasted like jerky. It probably had been sitting around for a while; it doesn’t seem as though they are very busy yet.

GotMyReservations Circa 57 Diner Corned Beef Hash

Music Man ordered a veggie omelette, and his was well prepared. It’s hard to go wrong with an omelette.

GotMyReservations Circa 57 Diner Veggie Omelette

Owners Anthony and Kimberly Priola have taken on a huge project and plan to convert several spaces in the Metropolis Theatre building into a large themed restaurant. Each space will have a different concept, but all are under the 1957 umbrella. You can read about their plans here — it’s very exciting for downtown Arlington Heights if they make their vision a reality!

The Priolas have completed renovation of the private party room from the previous restaurant. It is a recreation of a 1957 bungalow, complete with a pink kitchen.

GotMyReservations Circa 57 Diner Party Room 1

GotMyReservations Circa 57 Diner Party Room 2

The coffee bar also opens at 7:00 am for commuters and they offer a grab and go breakfast. Since I’m rarely up at 7:00 am these days — I’m retired, folks! — I will have to let someone else review this aspect of the services.

I plan to go back to Circa 57 with my girlfriends and try some of the lunch items. I’d like to support this local restaurant and its creative owners.

Circa 57
101 W Campbell St Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(847) 392-1957
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10 thoughts on “Restaurant Visit: Circa 57 in Arlington Heights

  1. How fun! I was born in ’57 so I know I’d be “eating it up” to go there!! I’m surprised they didn’t put down a black and white checkered flooring pattern. We had an aqua kitchen and the “chrome” finished dining set too. It would be a classic today but it’s long gone. Too bad your hash was dried out- hopefully it will not be the norm. Dig the retro formica they used too! Fun stuff!

    • It’s a really cute place. Yesterday I saw a family with little girls eating in the pink kitchen room. Adorable.

    • I love restaurants where I “eat the decor” but I never actually heard that phraseology. Perfect!

  2. Well, I wasn’t born in ’57 like the other young Liz, but I did drive a red ’57 Chevvie just like that to test for my driver’s license. The car already had more than a few miles on it and I vividly recall the motor stalling on Main Street right after I drove away from the DMV after passing the test and getting my first license. I guess pride went before the fall, or stall, rather. My big regret was not keeping that car.

  3. This is my kind of hangout!!! I wasn’t born yet in ’57, but I love the look of those days! I love the pink kitchen!!!!!! I WANT that pink kitchen!!!!!! It’s really funny that those mannequins are set up in there like that! 🙂

    I hope the lunch items prove more palatable than the hash. I can remember my Mom making corned beef hash back in the day. I have never made it, but I remember that I liked it. I never see it on any menu around here.

    I’m glad you’re going to give the restaurant another chance to prove itself to you. It’s great to support local Mom-and-Pop places, especially when they’re this much fun and pay this much attention to detail! Enjoy yourself!!!

    • Most of my breakfast places around here have hash on the menu and I’ve tried them all. I have yet to go back, but I do try to support my local businesses as I live where there are MANY malls with large chain stores.

  4. Thanks for the trip back down memory lane, Jennie! My childhood consisted of that same dinette set in our kitchen. But, we had melamine turquoise dishes, not fiesta. Love the pink kitchen. My next trip to Chicago, this place would be on my “must visit” list. Thanks for the fine review. 🙂

  5. Thanks for the review Jennie. I didn’t know about this place but will definitely be checking it out. I’m with you in that I prefer to support local businesses over chains. Thanks again.

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