Gas And Food Prices Have Destination Spots Concerned

By Jeff Muniz

July 15, 2010 Updated May 14, 2008 at 7:58 PM CDT

As soaring gas prices eat up more and more of our money, two longtime local restaurants are left hungry for business.

News 25's Jeff Muniz takes the trip to Toluca to find out why Mona's and Capponi's could close.

There just aren't enough stomachs to fill in this tiny town of just over 1,000 people for Mona's and Capponi's to keep serving food.

Owner Tony Bernardi said, "It's more stressful now than it's ever been due to less traffic. This is as bad as I've seen it."

Bernardi's two restaurants are destinations and rely on customers coming from Peoria and Bloomington.

People are rethinking their routes and staying a little closer and not spending the extra money on fuel.

"A lot of the time you'd see people two to three times a week and now it's once. Instead of three times a month, now once a month. Everybody has tightened up."

Roundtrip to Toluca is 80 miles. If your car gets 20 miles to the gallon and gas goes to $4, you're looking at spending $16 just to get to the restaurant and back home.

That didn't stop Steve O'Donnell from taking the trip from Peoria.

"Well, it's really not that far when you have good food to look forward to."

Not helping the bottom line is food prices as high as they've been in 20 years.

"If we had to increase what we're getting in the back door to the plate, we're afraid we'd run more people off."

Bernardi says he has no plans to close, but it's been in the back of his mind for the last year-and-a-half.

"It's the last thing we'd ever want to do."

"It would be a real loss to good, old fashion food especially for spaghetti lovers. I'm Irish but I love spaghetti."

After 75 years in business, the cost to fill up on fuel may not leave enough room to fill up on pasta at Mona's and Capponi's.

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