Evergreen Park restaurant opens, car crashes through window
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com November 19, 2012 5:38PM
Opening day at Famous Dave's in Evergreen Park had a little more excitement than expected when a car drove through the front of the store. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 21, 2012 6:22AM
Opening day at Famous Dave’s newest restaurant in Evergreen Park got off with a bang ... and a crash and a boom ... as a car went through the front windows Monday afternoon, just four hours after it opened.
Miraculously, the female driver — who had been parked in front of the restaurant — crashed into the only empty booth, missing a family that was sitting “inches away,” Brett Larrabee, director of franchise, sales and development, said. She apparently hit the gas pedal instead of the brake, he said.
“We are very grateful there were no serious injuries,” said Larrabee, who was on the scene when the accident occurred at 3 p.m.
He said two women — the driver and a customer — were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
“It’s just a huge blessing that no one was critically hurt,” he said.
Crews were busy cleaning up as of 5 p.m., and Larrabee hoped Famous Dave’s could reopen Tuesday, or at the latest, Wednesday.
Larrabee said he heard a “huge boom” but didn’t immediately know what it was.
“I saw the car. It was almost like being in a movie. It was so surreal,” he said. “It’s not every day you watch a car roll into a restaurant.”
He said he immediately began looking for anyone who may have been hurt, and helped the driver exit her Honda Accord.
“She was so upset,” he said.
Despite the commotion, the scene was not chaotic, he said.
“Most people were wondering how they were so lucky,” Larrabee said. “It’s just the most amazing thing that no one was in that area.”
He also credited the Evergreen Park police and fire departments for their quick and professional response.
As grand openings go, this one was “very hectic and very surprising,” Larrabee said.