Metro-East News

Popular Fairview Heights restaurant is closing after 40 years of service

In this 2007 BND file photo, Dandy Inn owner Mark Daniels poses in front a stained glass decoration with the name of the restaurant.
In this 2007 BND file photo, Dandy Inn owner Mark Daniels poses in front a stained glass decoration with the name of the restaurant. tvizer@bnd.com

Dandy Inn, the long-running Irish restaurant in Fairview Heights, is closing after nearly 40 years.

“It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that we will be closing our doors,” the family-friendly restaurant announced on its Facebook page Monday evening. “We have been blessed by so many great regulars and friends over the years. We truly appreciate every single person that has walked through our doors and have supported us over the years!”

Dave and Phyllis Daniels opened the Dandy Inn on April 1, 1977, and “two of their children, Mark and Ann, were put to work,” according to the restaurant’s web page.

Ann moved on from the Dandy Inn, but Mark remained. He started working there in high school, and after four years in the Air Force, he returned to the restaurant and worked there for a total of 35 years.

“It’s time to start writing a new book,” he said Monday evening. “It was just time.”

Mark Daniels said he had a lot of fun over the years at the Inn, and formed a lot of good memories there, too. Now, he is looking forward to spending more time with his family and helping out his sister.

Dandy Inn was built as a tavern in 1850 and took on a variety of forms since then, according to the restaurant. “It has been a general store, a tavern, [and] a dance hall.”

Rumors passed down over the years maintain that even Abraham Lincoln visited the old brick building at one time.

Eventually, a second floor was added to the building, and “the early 1900s boasted an expanding clientele when coal mining became big business in the area,” according to the restaurant.

Like many Irish restaurants, Dandy Inn is popular on St. Patrick’s Day, but Daniels said he hasn’t actually been able to enjoy the holiday himself. He was always working and had to skip the festivities, but this year, a friend of his said he was going to rent a limousine, and Daniels was invited.

“This year, I get to be a customer to somebody,” he said.

The restaurant’s last day will be Sunday, Jan. 15.

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