One of the greatest pleasures we receive as long-term owners of shopping centers are the last relationships we are privileged to develop and enjoy. Over time, we learn about each of our tenants, their families, and what makes them who they are as individuals. In addition to getting to know them personally, we get to understand how their business came to be. Some of the stories can be pretty wild, and Pinemoor Pizza located at Crystal Lake Plaza is no exception. Here’s a little story about the legacy of Pinemoor Pizza.

Pinemoor’s History

In 1982, a formidable lady came into my office. Ann Trownsell and her husband, Dick, had just lost their commercial building to a horrible fire. They told me all about their business and its legacy in the community. You see, the Pinemoor Hotel was built in 1921 and was sold in 1924 to the mother of a doctor. The doctor’s clients included members of the Chicago Crime Syndicate. Various “patched-up” personalities would become frequent guests at the Pinemoor. It was an ideal venue for secluded rehabilitation for guests to heal their wounds and resume their professions.

A New Kind of Business

By the early 1950’s, the Pinemoor Hotel had evolved into more of a rooming house where patrons could avail themselves of certain gambling opportunities. At this point in their history, the only items on the menu were drinks. That all changed when a kitchen opened to serve ham sandwiches and a new food – thin-crusts pizza.

Thus, Pinemoor Pizza was born.

Pinemoor Pizza and MCG

Upon hearing their story, I realized that Pinemoor Pizza, the oldest pizza restaurant in McHenry County, had to open in our plaza and it had to happen fast. In Ann’s mind, Crystal Lake Plaza was the only place for her beloved business to be.

The Pinemoor Pizza Legacy

Last year, Ann – as formidable as ever – told me it was time for Dick and her to retire. She asked if we would allow her to lease the shop to her buyer. Luckily, it is the MCG policy to always work with our tenants so that they can benefit from their hard work and sell the asset that they have built.

The Trownsells transitioned Pinemoor to its new owners, Cynthia and Patrick Paxson. Cynthia was the manager of Pinemoor for 30 years and couldn’t be happier to continue the tradition of great pizza and personable service in Cystal Lake.

The Trownsells moved to Florida to enjoy their retirement. Unfortunately, we lost Dick earlier this year. He will be sincerely missed by everyone at Crystal Lake Plaza. We are hopeful that Ann will stay in touch and even come back to town for a delicious pizza pie courtesy of Pinemoor Pizza.

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