The Anvil Club is closing to make way for a new restaurant in East Dundee

The Anvil Club, 309 Meier Street in East Dundee

The Anvil Club, an iconic East Dundee restaurant, will be closing on July 30.

Although a sale is pending, the restaurant’s prospective buyer plans to transform the storied dinner club into a Mexican restaurant.

“I think it will be a great addition to the community and to downtown life in East Dundee,” said buyer Colin Hegarty, who owns Maple + Hash in West Dundee and Pingree Grove.

Hegarty said he envisions a family-friendly restaurant serving traditional Mexican food with a bar featuring high-end tequilas. Hegarty, who opened Maple + Hash in West Dundee earlier this year, hopes to open the new restaurant before the end of the year.

The Anvil Club announced its closing Wednesday on social media.

“I’m so sad because it’s not just part of the history of the town, it’s part of my history in the town,” said Sarah Brittin, an East Dundee trustee who was a member of the Anvil Club for a few years and has hosted many celebrations there, including one recently for her father’s birthday. “I think a lot of people will feel that way.”

The restaurant first opened as a private dinner club in 1956 when a group of prominent businessmen decided they wanted a place for fine dining without having to drive to Chicago.

In its prime, the Anvil Club had about 8,000 members. At one time, the club, which required referrals from two members to get in and annual dues, was so popular that members feared that they would not be able to get back in if they let their memberships lapse.

In 2013, local developer and Otto Engineering President Tom Roeser bought the restaurant, poured about $1 million into renovations and made some changes to membership rules in an attempt to breathe new life into the dinner club. In December 2020, the club opened to the public for the first time.

Despite those efforts, the restaurant continued to struggle.

“Unfortunately, I was never successful in making that restaurant profitable,” Roeser said, adding that the pandemic and a difficult economy had taken its toll on the restaurant.

Though disappointed that the restaurant is closing, Roeser said he will work with Hegarty on the new dining venture that is better suited for families in today’s economy.

“The Anvil Club is really unique ... and I’m very disappointed that it’s now going to be gone,” Roeser said. “But what East Dundee has in that area is pretty special, too. And we’re just going to add to it and invest there.”

Hegarty said he plans to incorporate many of the artifacts inside the Anvil Club into the new restaurant. The original structure, located at 309 Meier St., once housed a blacksmith shop. The restaurant also features items such as a set of brothel doors with a bullet hole left from a gunshot reportedly meant for Al Capone.

Roeser said guests of the club can help celebrate the restaurant’s history over the next two months. Reservations can be made on at

Alicia Fabbre Daily Herald Media Group

Alicia Fabbre is a local journalist who contributes to the Daily Herald