Family-style restaurant celebrates hidden gem of history in Peoria

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PEORIA, Ill.–From the homey decor, to the family-style seating, Fairview Farms is a step back in time.

“People love it,” said the owner, Jeanne Carrell. “It’s like you’re at your own home. You know, like your grandma’s home.”

Carrell and her husband Donald own the restaurant. It’s a historical fixture uniquely surrounded by a Peoria neighborhood. But before Fairview Farms was a restaurant, it was the home of Amelia and Claus Heuermann.

“They had a farm, you know the farmhouse. They had 188 plus acres,” Carrell said. “And Amelia would make chicken dinners for her workers as a thank you—you know. And they said, ‘Oh Amelia, you cook so good. You should start a restaurant.’”

And in 1952, the Heuermann’s did just that. Years later when their granddaughter was looking to sell Fairview Farms, the Carrell’s stepped in.

“I couldn’t see this place not being here. And that’s what the previous owners were going to do. They wanted out. They were going to just sell it. You know and I couldn’t see that happen. This is a legacy and I couldn’t let it die,” Carrell said.

But even under new ownership, they kept true to the original feeling of the restaurant.

“The recipes are still the same from Amelia. We still peel—hand peel potatoes. Everything is homemade down to our dressings,” said Carrell.

Even though the Heuermann family no longer owns the restaurant, they’re no strangers to the area.

Carrell said, “A lot of the Heuermann’s live down the street and it’s just neat. They still come in and eat…”

And for many, the business is more than just a restaurant.

“They treated me like family. I’d like to say it’s fourth generation run,” said Carrell. “I think people around here consider us family. I mean, I really do.”

The Carrell’s are hoping to pass Fairview Farms along to their adult son, Michael when the time comes.

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