Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reflections on Jumer's

The news of the most recent closing of Jumer's of Peoria was delivered to me via a family member on Facebook the evening of December 9.
Since then I've seen TV news blurbs on the closing, an article detailing a nice memory Paul Gordon had of the restaurant in the Journal Star and some postings on Peoria.com from people on the subject.
No, the restaurant and hotel is not being torn down like VOP (at least, not yet), but today during a moment of relaxation on my lunch break, I had a chance to reflect on my memories of Jumer's.
My first memory of Jumer's is from when I was a child of about 12 years old. I could be mashing two outings together, but from what I remember we were out with a friend of my mom's and her daughters for the day to go to "the woodpecker tower" in Peoria Heights, then had lunch at Jumer's. I remember how beautiful the area was near the hostess stand, and the sun was streaming in the windows.
Flash forward about five years and I had a date at Jumer's during high school prior to a formal dance. I remember sitting in the cobblestoned waiting area until we could be shown to our table, all dressed up and feeling semi-adult-like.
After meeting my now husband, in a German bar no less, we had dinner at Jumer's a few times while we were dating to sample some different European cuisine.
One time we were seated upstairs in one of the elegant curved booths. It was such a nice atmosphere and we had a wonderful time.
I also remember we visited the Black Bear Lounge in the basement a few times for drinks.
At the time my husband was working a late shift job so he had to drink Beck's NA. We would visit and enjoy the ambiance of the lounge before he had to go off to work for the night.
On one occasion when we visited the lounge there was live entertainment and we thought it would be great to hear a "band" but it turned out to be one lone gent playing some old elevator music hits on the synthesizer.
Walking down Moss Avenue for an afternoon stroll or during the Moss Avenue sales, approaching Western I have always admired Jumer's and the majestic gate leading to the property.
In the last three years my husband and I had gone to Jumer's a couple of times for lunch, and had met some friends there for lunch, too. It was very quiet in there, but still had so much character.
My most recent memories of the building are going there for banquets.
For my first banquet visit, I was unfamiliar with the location of the assigned banquet room and ended up wandering the halls a bit looking for the site. There was no one to ask at the hotel desk, but eventually I found my way after admiring some of the beauty of the building.
My mom somehow, many years before the Internet, had acquired a Jumer's cinnamon rolls recipe, and she did an excellent job making them over the years, as she does so many things.
Each time I've found myself inside the building, if time and circumstances allowed, I always tried to walk the halls back to the lounge, taking in the big black bear and other treasures along the way.
It's a sad day to see the site closed. I know they've had many years of rough going and I hope that this is not the end of the magical memories in the castle on Western Avenue.

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