Top of the Morning, June 29, 2014
The stories should flow like maple syrup at the Aunt Sonya's reunion over Labor Day weekend.
Like the time Elvis, not wanting to draw a crowd, ordered 20 sandwiches — peanut butter, mayo and bananas — to go. Or how many strawberry pancakes it took to satisfy football star Dick Butkus' appetite. Or the time country music star Alan Jackson quietly slipped into a booth before his white cowboy hat gave him away. "Let's just say he didn't get to enjoy his breakfast," said Rose Moen, who with husband Ken ran one of C-U's most cherished restaurants before it closed in 2005. "There are a lot of memories."
Fittingly, the reunion will be at Champaign's Hilton Garden Inn. On a parking lot outside the hotel is where Aunt Sonya's/Uncle John's did business from the early 1960s on, drawing A-listers from the Flyin' Illini to Farm Aid singers before it was razed. A Saturday night banquet will be followed by a Sunday morning brunch where, of course, pancakes will be on the menu.
"We thought we should go back to where we started," Rose said.
Rose said more than 100 former employees have committed to the reunion. Those with ties to Aunt Sonya's who haven't signed up should call her at 217-351-3558. "We have room for more," she said.