541 S. Main Street | Princeton, IL 61356 | 815.872.9001
Spoons Restaurant & Bar

Our History


Welcome to a piece of history in Princeton and Bureau County. More business transactions have taken place within these four walls than in any other establishment in the area. In the 1930's, 541 S. Main St. was owned by Charles and Edward Lenihan was known as “Lenihans Place.” They sold cigars, tobacco, and had the bar that still stands here today. Whether you needed a plumber, lawyer, banker, or a carpenter, you found them all at The Greasy Spoon owned by Russ Dye from the 1960's to 1986. The Greasy Spoon was known for pinball machines, pool tables, & good food.

The Greasy Spoon was also known for a MEN ONLY clientele. Women would stand at the front door and yell for their husbands. Men would come in on their lunch hour and would be served their lunch while sitting at the pinball machine. When it was time to go back to work, they would take their bill to the bar and make their own change out of the bar wells' heaping pile of change!

In 1986 Russ Dye sold The Greasy Spoon to John Sitterly who decided to drop “Greasy” from the name and called it The Spoon. John served breakfast and lunch to his regular customers: Dick Debord, Hank Tobler, Ed Bartman, Gary Halberg, Paul Goble, Gary Grady, Bill Fleming, Bob May, Harry Dow, Jimmy & Tony Dye, Bill Wiggins, John DeSalvo, Dan Elberg, Jim Wooley and more. The gentleman who gathered daily at The Spoon would drink coffee, and at some point of the day, switch to PBR, while playing cards and shooting pool.

In 2015, Greta Halberg-Kelly came to the auction of The Spoon hoping to purchase the penny scale that she remembered playing on as a child when she would accompany her Dad for lunch. After realizing the scale wasn't the only thing she liked, she ended up purchasing the whole building. Greta Kelly added her personal touch to the restaurant by changing the name to “SPOONS.”

Stephen and Greta Kelly decided to remodel SPOONS and open up a restaurant and bar. While remodeling the building the construction workers from Merge Design (Steve Keutzer and crew) noticed a variety of peculiar happenings from disappearing tools to the sound of pool table balls racking up to play even though the pool tables had been removed from the building. SPOONS Restaurant and Bar opened on Homestead Days 2015, and the SPOONS employees still hear the occasional pool ball racking noise. We at Spoons believe that some of the old Lenihan Place, Greasy Spoon & The Spoon regulars that have passed on are still coming in to check on the place.

SPOONS has maintained many of the past traditions of the Greasy Spoon & The Spoon days: the bar well still overflows with change, and customers can still come weigh themselves on the original scale! The bar and bar stools are also the same as they have been for decades. David Jones is our Executive Chef and Manager and has infused all of his culinary experiences into our menu, incorporating a farm to table concept whenever possible. Welcome to SPOONS!! Sit back and enjoy your lunch, dinner, appetizers and drinks. Our motto here is FRESH... FRIENDLY.. FOODIE APPROVED.