The days of eating fries and burgers from dusk till dawn in a diner have fallen by the wayside.
Collin Giordano remembers his high school years spending early morning hours at Four Star Family Restaurant in Peru with friends after musicals, sporting events and other events.
“We loved going to Four Star way back when because you could just sit there for hours and drink coffee, and they wouldn’t even bother you,” Giordano, 22, of Peru said.
Four Star in Peru was open 24/7 for almost 20 years, but it’s been almost three years since the business ended serving people the entire day. The business is now open 5 a.m.-10 p.m. every day.
The task of finding staff to run the restaurant all day, every day was getting harder for those running the business, said one of the owners, Isa Purelku.
Finding employees to work third shift was always tough, but the difficulty of finding people was getting even harder in recent years, he said.
“It took a toll on us,” he said.
He pointed out that every bar has food now, and people are more careful nowadays about going out after midnight, scared to get a DUI.
Steak ‘n Shake in Peru ended being 24/7 over a year ago.
“We have reduced our hours at our Peru location due to staffing challenges. We have struggled to hire enough people to keep the restaurant open 24 hours, which necessitated the change,” said Judy Kadylak, senior vice president of marketing of Steak ‘n Shake.
When Four Star ended being 24/7, Giordano and his friends would go to McDonald’s, IHOP, Steak ‘n Shake; he mentioned Denny’s is off the beaten path in relation to where he and his friends live.
“Growing up in the Illinois Valley, there’s really nothing to do. Once it gets into the later hours, you’re pretty much in one spot, especially if you’re in that age range. It affects the area because it really kind of contributes to the way the Illinois Valley is. There’s nothing to do.
“When you get older, and you go out to the bars, you want somewhere just to sit for awhile instead of just going home. You don’t want to just sit at the bar and drink. You want to go chill somewhere, eat some food, get something in you and then go home,” Giordano said.
Curtis Faber of Mendota remembers in the early 1960s and 70s when there were at least three diners that were open 24/7 in Mendota.
He recalled one 24/7 diner on U.S. 6 in downtown Peru that “used to be packed.”
He thinks the reason that all day, every day diners have gone by the wayside is because of the lack of jobs in the area — “factory work left the area,” he said.
How late are restaurants open?
Four Star Family Restaurant in Peru: 5 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.
Steak ‘n Shake in Peru: 10 a.m.-midnight daily.
IHOP in Peru: 6 a.m.-midnight Mondays-Fridays and open 24/7 Saturdays and Sundays.
Denny’s in La Salle: Open 24/7.
Both McDonald’s in Peru: Open 24/7.
Ali Braboy can be reached at (815) 220-6931 and email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @NT_LaSalle. Former NewsTribune reporter Brynn Twait contributed to this article.