Track Inn officially closes after more than 40 years due to COVID-19 pandemic

Digital Originals

CHILLICOTHE, Ill. (WMBD) — After more than four decades, a small-town restaurant has made the tough decision to officially close its doors for good.

Dianne Thrall, owner of Di’s Track Inn, said it was a decision she didn’t want to make but saw no other option. She said the decision is still painful.

“It’s hurtful,” Thrall said. “I hurt for my employees, I hurt for Track Inn, I hurt for lots of things.”

Thrall said she took over Track Inn on April 1, 2011, but the diner has sat in Chillicothe since the late 70s. She said there’s a legacy within the restaurant.

“Track Inn’s been there for so many years, not always as Track Inn but as other restaurants before that,” Thrall said. “It has a great reputation.”

Kent Montag, who works at Allied Welding Inc. directly across from the restaurant, said he’s eaten there for years and the closure is a great loss for the community.

“They were always very personable,” Montag said. “You get to know them and they know you and you go in and they know what you’re going to order before you order. Those kind of things are meaningful.”

Thrall said the difficult decision to fully close came after Illinois’ stay-at-home order was extended. She said maintaining the restauraunt, during an extended closure, wasn’t financially feasible.

“For the expense it’s going to be to reopen I can’t financially do it,” Thrall said. “I’m 73-years-old and I can’t go back into debt at this age so that’s why I decided that I could not do this.”

Thrall said she hopes to sell the building and have someone keep Track Inn’s legacy going. She said she knows it’s going to be difficult for all who loved the restaurant for so many years and she thanks everyone who’s been supportive.

“I know Donna [the previous owner] is heartbroken also and all my employees are very hurt and very upset,” Thrall said. “My heart goes out to all of them and I just thank them for all their loyalty.”

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