Story Content

Many of us look back and fondly remember lazy days of childhood playing with toy trains in our basement with our neighborhood pals. Others may yearn for a simpler time before the distraction of iPads, smartphones, video games, and MP3 players. At 2Toots Train Whistle Grill, we certainly do!

Long-time business partners and restaurateurs Dale Eisenberg and Mike Ventre were fed up with today’s overabundance of technology geared at kids and decided to create a fun train-focused place where a new generation could connect with that heritage and develop treasured memories of their own. After years of success owning and operating Original Pancake House franchises in Illinois and Ohio, Eisenberg reopened a nostalgic train restaurant named The Choo Choo, which opened in 1951 in Des Plains, Illinois, that had been shuttered. After getting that restaurant back “on track,” Eisenberg and Ventre decided to create their own special place for families to enjoy a tasty meal delivered on toy trains.

In May 2006, Eisenberg and Ventre leveraged their 45 years combined experience in the restaurant world and ongoing love of toy trains to introduce the 2Toots Train Whistle Grill concept to diners. Their first location opened in Downers Grove, Illinois to much media fanfare and diner enthusiasm. After six successful years at that original location, the Downers Grove store was relocated to a larger facility in nearby Glen Ellyn, Ill. allowing us to better accommodate our constantly growing customer base.