Crystal Lake’s Pinemoor Pizza starting off new year with new owner

Pinemoor Pizza in Crystal Lake, which has had the same owner since 1971, is starting the new year with someone new in charge.

Starting Jan. 1, former manager Cynthia Paxson, and her husband, Patrick, took over the pizza place at 11 Crystal Lake Plaza for Dick Trownsell and his wife, Ann.

“Cindy, she’s worked with us for over 30 years,” Dick Trownsell said. “It’s going to be in good hands.”

Although Cynthia Paxson is new to restaurant ownership, she isn’t new to the pizza business or Pinemoor, which its now former owner said is the oldest pizza place in McHenry County.

She started working at the pizza spot in 1985. Then, in 1999, she started managing Pinemoor.

“I’m grateful that they let me buy it,” said Cynthia Paxson, adding she’s excited to have her own place.

Cynthia Paxson anticipates an easy transition as both the Trownsells have been very helpful and she has plenty of her own experience, Paxson said.

“I can do it in my sleep, this side of it,” she said.

Although Cynthia Paxson said she has some things to learn when it comes to the business side of running a restaurant, she has been doing quite a few of those things already as Pinemoor’s manager.

When word started spreading that Cynthia Paxson would be Pinemoor’s new owner, customers were relieved, she said, as she already knows how regular customers like their pizza (

“[Whether] it’s well-done or if it’s cooked light, whatever it is, I know how they want it,” Cynthia Paxson said.

Pinemoor first opened in 1952 and was started by Dick Trownsell’s mom and stepdad, Harry and Virginia Schnell. It’s been a family-owned business ever since, Dick Trownsell said.

“We were very fortunate,” he said. “Our customers, we’ve known them for years.”

It is these customers Dick Trownsell said he is going to miss the most, along with eating Pinemoor’s pizza all the time.

“We appreciate all the customers we’ve had throughout the years,” Dick Trownsell said.

Given his long tenure at Pinemoor, when Dick Trownsell was delivering pizzas, he would walk into people’s houses and know where their cookie and candy jars were, he said.

However, Dick Trownsell said, now he’s semi-retired and living in Florida for part of the year, so he thought it best to let Cynthia Paxson take over Pinemoor.

“She’s worked hard for us, and everyone knows her like [they know] us,” he said. “She’s been there forever. She’s real good with customers, too.”

Patrick Paxson said it is his wife’s “bright personality” that led to her great relationship with customers.

Cynthia Paxson plans on handling day-to-day operations of Pinemoor, while Patrick Paxson said he will work more “behind the scenes.” He said he will continue to also work at Charter Dura-Bar Inc. in Woodstock.

In the future, Cynthia Paxson wants to redo the floor and update the paint in the pizza place, and she just ordered a new prep table.

But for this first year, she said she doesn’t plan on changing much else. And she says the recipe will stay the same, as well.

“They’ve had it work for this many years. Why change it?” Cynthia Paxson asked.

Cassie Buchman

I cover Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Cary, Fox River Grove, Prairie Grove and Oakwood Hills for the Northwest Herald.