WHEELING, Ill. — Bob Chinn, a longtime Chicago area chef and restaurateur known for his Wheeling seafood restaurant has died at the age of 99, a statement from the restaurant announced.
Bob Chinn’s Crab House opened in Wheeling in 1982 when Chinn was 59 years old. It became one of the country’s highest grossing restaurants, with the establishment earning over $24 million in annual revenue by 2012.
Chinn dropped out of high school to join the United States Army during World War II and had worked ever since. Chinn got his start in the industry by supplying patterned plates to Chinese restaurants, an occupation that eventually progressed into helping family members open their own restaurants.
His individual restaurant endeavors included a Chinese restaurant that was eventually passed to his brother-in-law and a Polynesian buffet.
Chinn’s worldwide travels and experiences with seafood in different parts of the globe eventually inspired him to open Bob Chinn’s Crab House, which opened with 250 seats in 1982 on Milwaukee Avenue.
The restaurant grew to a 700-seat capacity and sales that eclipsed 2,500 meals on the average day, with 3,000 pounds of seafood flown in to the restaurant daily.
A statement from the restaurant was issued on their Facebook page:
“Today we lost a legend. It’s with an extremely heavy heart that we announce the passing of our fearless leader, our friend, our family member- the one and only, Bob Chinn. To know him was to love him and he was known by so many. His larger-than-life personality and famous tastebuds gave us 99 fantastic years of excitement, innovation and countless smiles. Everyone who has walked through the doors of his eponymous restaurant has been a part of this incredible journey and we’d like to thank you all. We will be celebrating his wonderful life- more details to follow in the coming days. In the interim, we’d love to hear all of your “Bob” stories- we know everybody has one! Photos are welcome too! Please send to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you again for the love and support in making his life a truly spectacular one!“