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The entire complex was torn down in 1996 and is now the site of a Pontiac/GMC dealership. Crystal "Y" Inn Monique's Branded Steak House Hob Nob D'Andrea Banquets. The southeast corner of Routes 14 and 31 has been the site of a restaurant since at least the 1930s. Between 1932 and 1945, the property was owned by Carl and Marie Hendricks. The couple operated a gas station and barbecue stand, which was known as Marie's Place in 1934.

The name was changed to the Crystal "Y" Inn in 1935, and new menu items and Saturday night dancing were added. Hendricks purchased additional property in 1936, expanded the restaurant and phased out the gas station business. In 1940, the restaurant was known as Dick's Crystal "Y" , having apparently been taken over by new management. The restaurant became known as Otto's Crystal "Y" when Otto and Emma Koetz purchased the property in 1945. Ads of the time mentioned "famous hamburgers" and fine mixed drinks and liquors. In 1948, the Crystal "Y" was purchased by Herbert Huppertz and Henry Kranz. A 1948 chattel mortgage listed one 50-foot bar, 27 bar chairs, 17 tables, 68 chairs, one fireplace, one piano and one Hammond electric organ with loudspeaker. Like most restaurants in the 1940s and 1950s, the Crystal "Y" featured live organ music.

According to a 1951 advertisement, diners could enjoy aged steaks, jumbo French fried shrimps, "most famous basket-full of chicken," a banquet room for parties, and dining and dancing on Saturday nights. All to the accompaniment of "our pretty Irish maid, Jean Conway, at the Hammond organ." In 1956, Herbert and Carola Huppertz became the sole owners. Between 1956 and 1964, the restaurant was known variously as The Crystal "Y" Inn, Herbie's Crystal Inn, Herbie's (Famous) Steak House and Herbie's Chicken & Steak House. It was run by Pierre and Monique Coutou, who had previously been the proprietors of the Villa d'Este in Cary. Herbie's Crystal Inn, 1957 "A family restaurant with an old-world touch" The restaurant became the Branded Steak House in 1966 when it was purchased by Wilbert Hanke and Eldon Chewning. It quickly developed a reputation as one of the best restaurants in the area. The seating capacity was increased to 200 with the addition of the Coach Room in 1967. New banquet facilities and a new dining room in 1973 further increased the capacity to 450. The Branded hosted many banquets and Sunday brunches. Downstairs, the Lamp Lighter Lounge featured live entertainment. In 1983, the property was leased by the Spentzos family and became the Hob Nob II. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Hob Nob was a very popular suburban-style restaurant and nightspot. The Spentzos family took over ownership of the property through a land trust, and in 2003 they completely remodeled the building and renamed it D'Andrea Banquets. In 1953, Larry DeMarce purchased the farmland south of Route 14 and east of Pingree Road from the Simpson family. Two subdivisions were recorded in 1954, and together they became known as Crystal Lake Manor. A small real estate office was built at the corner of Route 14 and Pingree Road. In 1957, DeMarce enlarged the building and converted it into a combination truck stop and food store. The grand opening of the Auto Dine was in December 1957. DeMarce promoted the event by driving a pony cart through Crystal Lake's downtown business district. The Auto Dine was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It was managed by Ruth and Larry DeMarce, and the first chef was Henry Wallace. Typical diner fare was served at spacious counters and in the rear dining room. The menu included chicken, shrimp, sandwiches, breakfast items, John Sexton coffee, ice cream and sodas. The adjoining grocery and deli featured cold meats, dairy products, cheese, candy and frozen foods.

An exceptionally large parking lot with three entrances could accommodate the smallest cars and the biggest rigs. In April 1958, carhop service was added, using a high-tech intercom system and window trays, similar to other drive-ins of the day. 1965 aerial view, showing the building and large parking lot, with two semi-trucks parked there. The business was purchased in 1959 by Wilbert Hanke, who ran it until 1967. After opening the Branded Steak House in 1966, Hanke found himself with no time to run the Auto Dine. In 1967, it was purchased by Lester Cunningham, who had previously been the chef at the Crystal Lake Country Club and Branded Steak House. The building was modernized with the addition of a new floor, new kitchen fixtures, a new counter, new chairs and refinished booths. According to a newspaper article of the time, the eatery now consisted of a counter with 24 stools, a main dining room seating 42 at tables and booths, and a rear dining room seating 20, where diners could watch the char-broil cooking. There were also carry-out items and fountain service.

Advertisements promoted the "new" Auto Dine as a family restaurant. The Auto Dine closed at some point during the early 1970s. By the time George and Katina Theofanous bought the property in 1975, it had been closed for several years.


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