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An old favorite gets a makeover in St. Charles
By Amy E. Williams | Daily Herald Columnist

An artist's rendering of the new Colonial Cafe location on Randall Road in St. Charles. The restaurant is scheduled to open Friday, July 30.


Courtesy Larson Darby Group

An artist's rendering of the new Colonial Cafe location on Randall Road in St. Charles. The restaurant is scheduled to open Friday, July 30.


Courtesy Larson Darby Group

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Published: 7/28/201 12:01 AM

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When the new Colonial Café opens along Randall Road in St. Charles Friday, it might look a little different to longtime customers.

But don't worry - your favorites can still be found inside the new location, which is opening at 552 S. Randall, across from the Kane County Fairgrounds.

The folks at Colonial hired the Larson Darby Group, which also is located along Randall, to come up with the new face of Colonial Cafes and Ice Cream stores.

"The challenge for us was to give the store a new identity without veering too far away from the familiar," said Tom Mahaffey, lead architect/designer on the project. "Colonial Cafes are an icon in the Tri-Cities business community, and enjoy a long and loyal relationship with its customers. It was important that we didn't alienate any of those customers, while at the same time bringing a fresh, new look to the store."

The new contemporary urban image, which debuts at the end of this month at the St. Charles spot, replaces the look at the old St. Charles location just around the corner on Route 38, which closed Sunday.

"This is not your father's family restaurant," said Clinton Anderson, the fourth generation operations director of Colonial, which has been around since 1901.

The restaurant is 5,000 square feet, and has 188 seats, as well as the familiar party/meeting room and atrium dining.

But there is much that is different.

It features lots of glass, stainless steel and saturated colors.

Ice cream, of course, is at the center of the visit for guests, Anderson said.

But it will be brought to life in an even bigger and better way in the new locale.

The first thing guests see when they walk in will be an ice cream fountain island in the center of the room, where guests can watch their favorite ice cream creations - as well as new smoothies and coffee drinks, being made.

"From the moment guests walk in the front door, they'll see that this cafe is something special," Anderson said.

There also will be HDTV monitors listing daily features.

"Think of it as a 21st century chalkboard," Anderson said.

Televisions are set up throughout the cafe for those who don't want to miss the game or a popular televised event, and electrical outlets and free Wi-Fi abound.

However, there also is a tribute to Colonial's past in the restaurant, with old photos and memorabilia on the walls.

There also will be the famous Colonial cow. However, he has a modern twist too.

He still is there. However, on the back wall, there also is an 8-foot by 5-foot bas-relief cow and themed graphics St. Charles artist Emily Grelck.

The menu also will maintain home-style favorites, but will now include new and different items for daring guests to try.

In addition to the new St. Charles cafe, Colonial also has spots along Randall in Algonquin, and in Elgin, Aurora, Naperville, Crystal Lake, and on the east side of St. Charles.

Amy Williams' column covers all the news of business along the Randall Road corridor from Batavia to Crystal Lake. Contact her at or (847) 894-5036.