CHICAGO (CBS) — A couple with a dream of sharing happiness with others has opened a GoFundMe page to help re-open a old staple of Far Southwest suburban Wilmington, about 60 miles from downtown Chicago.
As traffic goes by on Route 53, along the old Route 66, the Gemini Giant, an iconic 28-foot tall astronaut looks down on the closed Launching Pad restaurant.New co-owner Holly Barker said the GoFundMe page launched Monday because the Wilmington community was anxious to see the eatery re-open; and so Barker and her partner Tully Garrett want to make that happen sooner than first planned.
“We want to bring back the old school. We want to bring back everybody’s childhood memories. We want to get the food right. We want to restore it back to what it was in its glory days,” she said.
Barker and Garrett bought the restaurant on a lark after spotting it while antiquing a couple of months ago.
“Our goal is for everybody to get something that they want, whether it’s a person coming in for a pizzaburger and a shake and that’s what makes them happy, or someone can come here for a car show or someone can come here and be a part of the community room in the back that we’re going to have,” Barker said.
Inside the Launching Pad Restaurant, tables still have on them maps of Route 66.
Garrett said he and Barker would have been able to eventually re-open the restaurant on their own, first starting out selling t-shirts and memorabilia, but they figure a GoFundMe page could speed up the process.
“This is woven in the fabric of their community. This is where they came after football games, after cutting down the Christmas tree at the Christmas farm, where they came for ice cream. It was the hub,” Garrett said.
Garrett and Barker met after their spouses died of cancer. They said their main aim in life now is happiness and spreading that to others.
“Our goal is happiness. And so, we’re here, if we’re serving some some food and selling some fun t-shirts and we’re outside helping people take pictures, we go home that day with a smile on our face,” Barker said.
The couple hopes to open the restaurant to sell t-shirts, at first, possibly in a couple of months.