WOODHULL, ILLINOIS — There’s a somewhat hidden symbol in the logo for the new Lynnie’s Diner inside the Woodhull Travel Plaza. The restaurant’s logo has a barn in the background with a window near the top of the structure. The interior window frame is shaped like a cross — to honor the restaurant’s namesake, Jerry […]
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WOODHULL, ILLINOIS — There’s a somewhat hidden symbol in the logo for the new Lynnie’s Diner inside the Woodhull Travel Plaza.
The restaurant’s logo has a barn in the background with a window near the top of the structure. The interior window frame is shaped like a cross — to honor the restaurant’s namesake, Jerry Lynn “Lynnie” Bowlyou.
“That cross is to symbolize his relationship with his Lord,” said Brent Bowlyou, owner of the new diner at 536 Oxford Ave. that opened Friday, April 8. The restaurant, named in his late father’s honor, is off to a fast and successful start.
“On our first opening weekend, we had a great turnout from the community,” Mr. Bowlyou told the QCBJ. “There wasn’t a place to sit. … We had a lot of support from the community.”
A big part of the community support comes from the fact that Woodhull, a town with a population of about 800, now has a restaurant again. The previous Travel Plaza restaurant was Maxwell’s Restaurant and Bar, which closed a few years ago, said Mr. Bowlyou, who is no stranger to the restaurant business and new startups.
“We’ve had really good feedback from the community,” said Jeremy Hull, Lynnie’s general manager. “Everybody has been very supportive of us.”
Lynnie’s, which has about 12 employees and a seating capacity of just over 100, offers a menu that keeps the local foodies happy. Mr. Bowlyou said that some of the popular items include the 12-ounce New York strip steak, pasta dishes, tenderloins, and a giant pretzel appetizer.
Other menu items include:
- The Lynnie Burger that includes three cheeseburgers and nine pieces of bacon.
- Black and Blue burger with blue cheese crumbles, bacon, lettuce and tomato.
- Buffalo chicken wrap.
- Cauliflower bites appetizer.
- Lynnie’s Wings, both boneless and traditional.
Some of Mr. Bowlyou’s menu favorites are tacos and enchiladas. “The club sandwich is really good, too,” he added.
But it’s not just the food that is helping the new restaurant get off to a good start. Mr. Bowlyou gives credit to his work crew for providing great customer service and helping people feel welcome to the new business. “We have a lot of good people working for us,” he added.
And he’s looking for even more good people at his new Woodhull business. As of late April, Mr. Bowlyou was looking to add more cooks, a server and a bartender.
Actually, Mr. Bowlyou says he has a lot of good people — about 50 employees in all — working at all of his businesses. Lynnie’s is the fourth different business currently in the Bowlyou family. Mr. Bowlyou also runs the Constellation Coffee shop in Milan inside his Bowlyou’s Ice Cream and Grill as well as a Bowlyou’s Ice Cream in Aledo, Illinois. (His father, Lynnie, owned and operated the Aledo Tastee Freez for more than 20 years. That business later became Bowlyou’s Ice Cream and Grill.)
In addition, his wife April Bowlyou runs the Queen Bee Boutique, a formal dress shop, in Milan.
“We don’t have a lot of time to waste,” Mr. Bowlyou said with a laugh.
The area businessman added that one of his main goals in keeping several businesses going is to help local communities by providing needed services.
“I just like serving people. It really comes down to community service. The community helps us and we help them.”
Lynnie’s is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays through Sundays. The restaurant is closed on Mondays. Lynnie’s Diner can be reached at (309) 334-5966.
Bowlyou offers these tips for starting your own successful business
Brent Bowlyou, owner of the new Lynnie’s Diner in Woodhull, Illinois, has several different businesses across the Quad Cities region.
Mr. Bowlyou also runs the Constellation Coffee shop in Milan, located inside his Bowlyou’s Ice Cream and Grill in Milan and a second Bowlyou’s in nearby Aledo, Illinois. His wife, April Bowlyou, runs the Queen Bee Boutique formal dress shop, also in Milan.
Mr. Bowlyou offers these tips for people considering opening their own business:
- Do your homework. Get a business plan together and truly understand what it will takes to run a business.
- Understand who will be your business competition.
- Understand your costs and overhead, such as wages, and the cost of food if you are opening a restaurant. “Being able to manage your overhead is huge,” he says.