Bob Chinn, renowned Chicago-area chef and restaurateur, has died at the age of 99


WHEELING, Illinois — Bob Chinn, a longtime Chicago-area chef and restaurateur best known for his seafood restaurant Wheeling, has died at the age of 99, according to a statement from the restaurant.

Bob Chinn’s Crab House opened in Wheeling in 1982 when Chinn was 59 years old. It became one of the top-grossing restaurants in the country, with the establishment generating above-average earnings $24 million in annual sales in 2012.

Chinn dropped out of high school to join the US Army during World War II and had worked ever since. Chinn began his career in the industry by supplying patterned plates to Chinese restaurants, a job that eventually led to him helping family members open their own restaurants.

His individual restaurant endeavors included a Chinese restaurant, which was eventually passed on to his brother-in-law, and a Polynesian buffet.

Chinn’s worldwide travels and seafood experiences in different parts of the world eventually inspired him to open Bob Chinn’s Crab House which opened in 1982 on Milwaukee Avenue with a 250 seat capacity.

The restaurant grew to a seating capacity of 700 and a turnover that eclipsed 2,500 meals on an average day, with 3,000 pounds of seafood being flown into the restaurant each day.

A statement from the restaurant was posted on their Facebook page:

Today we lost a legend. It is with an extremely heavy heart that we announce the passing of our fearless leader, our friend, our family member – the only one, Bob Chinn. To know him was to love him, and so many knew him. His larger than life personality and famous taste buds have given us 99 amazing years of excitement, innovation and countless smiles. Everyone who has walked through the doors of their namesake restaurant has been a part of this incredible journey and we want to say thank you to all of you. We will celebrate his wonderful life – more details will follow in the coming days. In the meantime, we’d love to hear all of your “Bob” stories – we know everyone has one! Photos are also welcome! Please send to: Thank you again for the love and support to make his life a truly spectacular one! Bob Chinn, renowned Chicago-area chef and restaurateur, has died at the age of 99

John Verrall

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