The Scene

Tequila Val’s is a new chapter for historic dinner club building in East Dundee

Mexican restaurant opens in former Anvil Club

Tequila Val's recently opened in the longtime home of the Anvil Club in East Dundee.

East Dundee’s newest restaurant, Tequila Val’s, is bringing new life to what once was a storied dinner club.

Housed in the former Anvil Club, Tequila Val’s brings Mexican cuisine to the downtown district. The restaurant, which opened May 2, offers a menu featuring lamb shank birria, quesabirrias, tacos, burritos and other dishes. The bar offers fresh margaritas, craft cocktails and other spirits.

“We worked hard on the menu and spent a lot of hours tasting and creating the menu,” restaurant owner Colin Hegarty said.

Hegarty purchased the Anvil Club after its closing in July.

The iconic dinner club first opened in 1956, when a group of prominent businessmen decided they wanted a place for fine dining closer to home. It remained a private club until December 2020, when it opened to the public for the first time. In its prime, the Anvil Club, which required referrals from two members to get in and annual dues, had about 8,000 members.

The restaurant had a rich history in East Dundee and many longtime members who celebrated birthdays, anniversaries and other special events at the club.

Since its closing, the building has undergone a transformation that includes a new look to the facade and expanding the bar from 10 to 32 seats. The Anvil Club’s private patio has been opened and expanded for Tequila Val’s.

Tequila Val’s in downtown East Dundee features a large patio.

“We opened up the outdoor patio, which I think is a beautiful space,” Hegarty said, adding that opening it makes it more accessible to people using the nearby bike trail, or visiting the downtown district to shop or attend one of the special events held in the summer.

Although there have been extensive renovations, not everything has changed. The saddle room remains the same as it was when the Anvil Club was open. Hegarty kept that space intact as a type of “homage” to the special memories the former supper club had for customers.

We worked hard on the menu and spent a lot of hours tasting and creating the menu.”

—  Restaurant owner Colin Hegarty

Plans for a basement space once used as a speakeasy are evolving, Hegarty said. Possible uses could include private events, live music or a romantic dinner spot for date nights.

“I’m just trying to see the customer flow and what the community needs,” he said.

And although the building and menu are different, Hegarty said he hopes to continue the tradition that started with the Anvil Club of being the place to go for special events and celebrations.

“The game plan is to continue the legacy of this space,” he said.

Alicia Fabbre Daily Herald Media Group

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