OGLESBY — A longtime Oglesby institution, Garzanelli’s Supper Club, has sold, and the man who plans to run it wants to maintain many of the traditions in the restaurant.
“We are happy to announce the restaurant has been sold. We wish the new owners the very best in the future,” a Facebook post on the old Garzanelli’s page read on Feb. 5.
Jeremy Hillyer of Tonica purchased the property, but said his son, David, will run the restaurant.
“It has always been something I’ve wanted to do, and my dad said we should take a leap at it and we did,” David Hillyer said.
He said he’d always wanted to get into the restaurant business, and that desire increased when the opportunity to buy Garzanelli’s, a favorite of his, arose.
Talk of the sale circulated through the community over the past month and a half, and Carretto and Hillyer family members confirmed the sale Feb. 5. Realtor Larry Bianchi said discussions actually began almost eight months ago, and, though he’s not sure exactly what the Hillyers’ plans are, he’s glad that the transaction can help keep an Oglesby tradition alive.
The Hillyers have a construction business, so they have a few things they’d like to upgrade. But David said he wants to keep the iconic neon sign, the circular bar and some of the other things in “the Garzanelli’s that everybody loves.”
Hillyer said it will probably take a few months to get the business up and running. However, he said he has one piece of the puzzle in place, Carl Siemers, who cooked at Garzanelli’s for 27 years.
The Carretto family had taken ownership of Garzanelli’s Supper Club in 1974, but it had long been a mainstay for gatherings, family dinners, cocktails, chicken and Italian dishes.
With cook Jim Carretto battling a terminal illness, the Carrettos closed the restaurant in late October 2016.
Garzanelli’s originally opened as a grocery store and tavern in 1918. The business sold just one time in its 98-year history, when Anna and the late Pete Carretto bought the restaurant in 1974 from the Garzanelli sisters, Katie Farneti and Elsie Porter.
Jim and Chuck Carretto took it over from their parents.