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Chocolate Shop Employees

The Chocolate Shop and later the Coral Lounge was the main restaurant in downtown Minonk from 1936 until the 1980's. Located next to the Minonk State Bank at the corner of Fifth and Chestnut Streets, it was a gathering place for diners and for after basketball game revelers. The pictures shown here were taken from a Minonk News-Dispatch article in 1980. The pictures show employees who worked at the Chocolate Shop and the Coral Lounge. The picture to the right was taken at an open house honoring long-time employees Minnie V. Barth and Anna Konwinski who started working for the Chocoloate Shop in 1942 and worked until 1980 when it was the Coral Lounge.

For an article about working at the Chocolate Shop during the 1940's, click here.

Front row left is Melvin Liner, past owner of the Coral Lounge; Minnie V. Barth, Anna Konwinski, Bob Morrison, owner of the Chocolate Shop. Second row left is Mrs. Lorraine Liner, Preston Fryman, Mrs. Eileen Morrison, Mrs. Lonnie Barnard, Lou Barnard, owner of the Coral Lounge.

Minnie V. Barth and Anna Konwinski stand in front of the kitchen door to the Chocolate Shop in the 1940's.

The above group was photographed celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Chocolate Shop in 1946. From the left is Jerry Grampp, Dorothy Broers, Helen Beyer, Tillie Zuspansic, Eleanor Kanive, Minnie V. Barth, Bob Morrison, Eileen Morrison, Roy Hawk(brother of Eileen), and Dr. W. S. Morrison, (Bob's father).

Much of the following information is from an articled written in the Minonk News-Dispatch in 1980 by Martha Cunningham.

Minnie V. Barth and Anna Konwinski both retired in 1980 from the Coral Lounge. They had worked as cooks together since 1942 when they worked for Bob Morrison's Chocolate Shop. In 1950 Melvin Liner bought the Chocolate Shop and eventually renamed it the Coral Lounge.

Miss Barth's years in local restaurants go back to the time when the Royal Cafe was located in the Sutton Buildings at the north end of town. The site is now occupied by SMF Manufacturing. The business was owned by a man from LaSalle and the kitchen help worked ten hour split shifts. From the Royal, she went to the Alamo, a 24 hour restaurant run by C. I. Lewis and was located in the south block of Main Street. Lewis's restaurant stayed open around the clock because of the bus stop and the railroads. Miss Barth was a cook there for about seven years prior to 1942.

Mrs. Konwinski went to work for C. I. Lewis when her youngest child was five in 1941. She worked only part-time as a dishwasher at first, but was soon cooking three days a week. In 1942, both ladies went to work for Morrison at the Chocolate Shop.

They saw a lot of changes in the business. There used to be large front windows that had to be washed. Ice cream was made daily in the store, and a long, high candy counter filled the south wall. The kitchen was moved several times since those days, and the menu had changed too. In 1942, one pie or small cake was usually enough for the mealtime crowd. The baking and meat preparation was handled in Morrison's apartment above the restaurant. There was no air-conditioning and all the french fries were peeled and cut by hand. At least, though, they were no longer cooking on a coal stove as at the Royal.