An opportune help wanted sign in front of the Cherry Pit Restaurant in Deerfield 23 years ago produced one of Deerfield’s leading entrepreneurs and civic backers.
That is when Kevin Quigley, who was operating a business in Lake Forest and looking for some extra income, parked in front of the Cherry Pit, saw the sign, walked in, was hired as assistant manager and never left.
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The Cherry Pit became Kevin’s Place seven years ago when he bought it from, Lynn Elliott, the woman who hired him. She is now his assistant manager. “We both know how each other likes stuff,” he said. His passion and enthusiasm for the Village has continued to grow.
“Every community needs a place like (this) where everyone knows everybody and he (Kevin) knows you,” Village Trustee Bob Benton, a frequent diner, said. “The young kids absolutely adore him. They run to him as soon as they walk in the door.”
Quigley’s relationship with Deerfield’s children and his unofficial position as a major collector of food and sundries for the West Deerfield Township Food Pantry led him to develop an idea to help fill those shelves.
One of Quigley’s regular customers is Wilmot Elementary School third grader Eden Chaban. A few months ago she was eating at Kevin’s Place with some family members and was feeling unhappy.
“She went on a field trip to the food pantry and saw it was empty,” Quigley said. “She was very sad.” She wanted Quigley’s help with a food drive and he wanted to test her commitment so he waited a few months. “Her passion never waned.”
Quigley went to work. He developed the concept of a girl, a guy and a bench. Chaban and Quigley will be sitting on the bench in front of the restaurant from 2 to 4 p.m. Nov. 24 and from 2 to 5 p.m. Nov. 25 collecting food, sundries and money.
“We wanted to mold it off the success of three guys and a truck,” Quigley said referring to a thriving event every summer that collects food and sundries while people circle the Deerfield High School track at Adams Field. They hope to receive non perishable food and sundries. “People tend to not think about that,” he added referring to personal care items.
West Deerfield Township Supervisor Julie Morrison was thrilled when she learned about the fall sequel to a signature summer event. “It’s a very clever idea to assist our food pantry,” she said. “Kevin is a good partner to our grass roots organization.
Morrison and Quigley both stress the need for items like soap, tooth paste and other sundries. He remembers a day when people from Elizabeth Arden in Deerfield arrived in Kevin’s Place’ parking lot with a trunk load of personal care products. “Julie about fell over,” he said
When it comes to the food itself, there is no reason for a restaurant review. Patch readers have already done that. Kevin’s Place was a double winner in last summer’s Readers’ Choice Awards winning for best pancakes and best omelet.
Kevin’s Place and Deerfield will also be featured on WGT-TV’s Chicago’s Best Show at 10 p.m. Nov. 25 as one of the Chicago area’s top family restaurants. Like the Patch Readers’ Choice competition, it was selected by a vote of online subscribers.