A Community Destination for Generations
Slightly south of the Wisconsin border, resides the village of Hebron, Illinois and like many Midwestern towns has a strong sense of community that is so important to the fabric of America. That sense of community is personified by an establishment located on Hebron’s northwest side named Crandall’s Restaurant. Crandall’s history of community involvement, some of which centers around serving Genuine Broaster Chicken®, has been a focal point for generations of Hebron residents. For their continued success and efforts in remaining a focal point for Hebron as well as their commitment to maintaining Broaster® Company standards, Crandall’s Restaurant has been chosen as the recipient of Broaster Company’s Golden Chicken Award for Operator Excellence.
The history of Crandall’s began in 1957 when it opened as Ken’s Drive Inn & Restaurant in an era when the “drive in” was very popular. They began serving what was to quickly become a local favorite, Genuine Broaster Chicken. This product offering began a decades-long tradition for residents near and far as they sought the taste of this then “new” fried chicken.
After 12 successful years as Ken’s Drive Inn, the restaurant was sold in 1969. Glenn Crandall assumed ownership and subsequently changed the name to Crandall’s Restaurant, thus starting the legacy of the name. Glenn Crandall successfully operated the restaurant for the next 21 years, offering Genuine Broaster Chicken as “all-you- can-eat” on Wednesday nights which proved to be a very popular venture. In fact, since the early 1970’s a group of local patrons have met at Crandall’s once a month on Wednesdays to share stories, reconnect and exclusively eat Genuine Broaster Chicken.
Next in the successful line of owners, Joe Joseph and Jim Zakos purchased the location from Glenn Crandall in the early 1990’s. Joe Joseph was a popular coach of the Alden-Hebron High School Football Team, and as part of the victory celebration in 2003, his team was treated to an all-you-can-eat buffet of Genuine Broaster Chicken at Crandall’s. This winning tradition still continues. Recently, Joe & Jim decided it was time to retire and reviewed offers to purchase the restaurant. With their desire to keep the establishment in local hands, they recently sold to Dan and Judi Beck who assumed the helm of the popular eatery at the beginning of 2014. It is truly a family effort as their son Dean oversees operations in his role of Manager.
Crandall’s feature attraction is all-you-can-eat world famous Genuine Broaster Chicken, previously served only on Wednesday nights. In the early 1990’s, this practice was changed and Genuine Broaster Chicken was made available every night. Crandall’s busiest weeknight is still Wednesday, owing to the strong sense of local tradition. Crandall’s uses three Broaster 1800 Pressure Fryers to produce the volume of chicken needed for the crowds as well as other popular menu items.
As lifelong residents of Hebron, Dan and Judi are keenly aware of their market and have ensured the continued success by not changing what works for the restaurant and its patrons. “We knew we had to make a few changes, but not too many”, says Judi. “We know what our Customers enjoy and we want to continue to deliver the positive experience the community has come to expect from Crandall’s”. Growing up in Hebron, they understand the culture; Dan played football on the Alden-Hebron High School football team and Judi was chosen as the schools’ homecoming queen. Their son, Dean also played as quarterback on the very same field his father played on years before. Dean also enjoyed the reward for a winning game, the trip to Crandall’s for all the Genuine Broaster Chicken he and his winning team could consume…a practice that continues to this day.
The Beck family is active in other forms of community service that directly involve the restaurant. They purchase local meat and produce for their offerings, sponsor and provide food for the Hebron Fire Department Pig Roast as well as the high school’s booster club “Feather Party” Turkey Raffle. Many service organizations, such as the local branch of the Shriners hold their meetings at Crandall’s. Truly an involved community focal point, Crandall’s Restaurant and Genuine Broaster Chicken is a winning combination.