Early in the morning or late at night, there's one place you're likely to see buzzing with activity: the Sugar Bowl and Miner Street Tavern.
Steve Morakalis and George Prassas took a leap of faith in 2009 and reopened the long-struggling and intermittently shuttered Sugar Bowl, one of our oldest businesses. The restaurant was nearly renamed "La Mellet," but after discovering how much the Sugar Bowl meant to Des Plaines, the pair chose to inherit a local favorite. They transformed it, redecorating and bringing in better food than the restaurant had served in many years. The attached Miner Street Tavern was similarly reinvigorated, with a new storefront and appeal to a diverse clientele.
This newest incarnation of the Sugar Bowl is drastically different from the one that served the city for over 75 years. After the restaurant closed in 1997 following a shocking series of events in the Fifles family, new owner Ted Vlahopoulos of Mr. Allison's, gutted the interior and built a more conventional restaurant in place of the longstanding Sweet Shop and Snack Shop, changing the now-removed neon signs from "Sweet Shop" and "Cypress Inn" to "Restaurant" and "Cocktails."
Almost from the start, the Sugar Bowl was three things: the Sugar Bowl Candy Shop, the Des Plaines Restaurant/Cafe and the Cypress Cafe/Inn. The building in this form dates to 1924, according to building records; but the Sugar Bowl has existed since 1921. It was only in 1958 when the Sugar Bowl really 'merged' with the restaurant and gained an energetic modern look. Before that, walking down Miner Street you would have seen a venerable establishment serving citizens and commuters in a brick-fronted building with small signs; the bar, snack shop, and sweet shop each had their own identities.
In 1949, an ice cream manufacturing plant was added. The candy kitchen even gained a moment in the spotlight in 1986, when it was used as a location for a Brach's candy commercial.
While the hand-dipped chocolates, homemade ice cream, Green River sodas, and marble-topped soda fountain may be a thing of the past, today's Sugar Bowl remains a vital part of our downtown. It is not only a meeting place for generations of residents, but is known in its own right for quality breakfasts.