CLINTON - Who says the days of getting your car windshield cleaned with a fill-up are gone?
Beginning today, it will still be possible at Ted's Garage in Clinton. Anyone patronizing the automotive-themed restaurant on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights will be greeted by a lot porter, who will valet park each vehicle and clean the windshield for free.
Meanwhile, hungry diners can fill up on Ted's Fan Blades - hand-cut, breaded pork tenderloin - and Silverado rib-eyes weighing in at 10 ounces of choice beef.
"It's in keeping with our garage theme and the 1950s. You used to go to the gas station and get your windshield cleaned with a fill-up," said Ted Lowers, owner of Ted's Garage and RA Lowers Catering. "We tried it and it's worked well with a '50s, old-time customer service and menu."
The new service also solves a growing parking problem, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Valet parking will be next door inside a Baum Chevrolet Buick garage. Car dealership owner Scott Baum owns the restaurant building.
In keeping with the garage theme, lot porters will dress in striped shirts and bow ties matching the uniforms of waiters and waitresses inside the eatery.
Lowers opened Ted's Garage in December 2004. Located along Illinois 54 in Clinton, the building once housed Rolofson's Sport Shop. Black and white booths and chair/table combinations seat 142 diners. Silverware comes wrapped in white shop rags instead of napkins. A 1950s-era car showroom sits at the rear of the restaurant featuring a rotating exhibit of vintage vehicles.
"Eighty to 85 percent of our customers come from out of town. We knew we would need out-of-town customers to do the volume we wanted. We are selling an experience," said Lowers, who will begin hosting Wednesday night car cruise-ins this week.
The restaurant feeds diners from 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sunday. Lowers suggested diners make reservations by calling (217) 935-8008.