ROANOKE — The father in a father-son restaurant partnership died in a traffic accident Monday morning in rural Woodford County near Roanoke.
Shefki Emini, 70, of the 200 block of North Fayette Street in El Paso, was a fixture at The Range restaurant on the outskirts of El Paso. He and his son, Basri “Boz” Emini, owned the restaurant and The Park, which is on Bloomington’s south side.
Boz Emini said he lost more than his father and business partner. "I lost my best friend today," he said.
Emini was pronounced dead about 10 a.m. on State Route 116 just east of the intersection with State Route 117, according to information from Coroner Tim Ruestman.
It appears Emini was making a U-turn on Illinois Route 116 to go east when his vehicle was struck by a tractor trailer. It was not immediately clear if the driver of the semi was injured in the accident.
Michael Schuette, who has works at The Range, said all the employees at the El Paso restaurant knew Emini well.
He described the 70-year-old as an outgoing man who talked with customers at the bar, danced with employees when business was slow and would give the employees the shirt off his back if they needed it.
"He cared more about this place than pretty much anybody else," Schuette said. "He was here, rain or shine, every day, whether he was sick or tired. He was good to all of us, too."
Schuette recalled that on Father’s Day a few restaurant employees ran to a dollar store across the street from the restaurant and bought for Emini a large stuffed animal duck that made a quacking noise.
"He would run around the restaurant, hitting every employee with it," Schuette said with a laugh. "And he would wear it around his neck."
Schuette said Emini was like a member of the family for him and numerous other employees.
Emini’s son said his father is survived by a wife, seven children and 22 nieces and nephews.