Soon-to-reopen Palms Grill Cafe hosts upcoming “60 Minutes” interview

The Palms Grill Cafe in downtown Atlanta, Illinois, which is scheduled to reopen next month, hosted an interview for an upcoming 12-minute segment on CBS-TV’s long-running and popular “60 Minutes” news show.

The Bloomington Pantagraph broke the story about acclaimed Illinois sportswriter and Atlanta native Dave Kindred talking about his new book, “Leave Out the Tragic Parts: A Grandfather’s Search for a Boy Lost to Addiction” (Amazon link), to a “60 Minutes” film crew in his hometown:

Correspondent Jon Wertheim spoke with Kindred at a table in the Palms Grill Cafe, located on Atlanta’s main drag, the old Route 66, a third-to-first throw from the nearby Paul Bunyon statue.
Kindred had visited Palms Grill on multiple occasions, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to close last year. Someone still has the key and recently let Kindred, Wertheim and a CBS crew in.
“There were nine of them … cameramen, sound men, a makeup girl,” Kindred said. “She’s snipping wild hairs off of my eyebrows and ear tips. That has never happened before.”

I surmised Bill Thomas, chairman of the Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership and a former trustee of the Atlanta Public Library that owns the resident, was the one who had the key to the restaurant. I emailed him, and his reply confirmed my hunch:

“It was very kind of local boy, Dave Kindred, to suggest it to the CBS crew. And yes, I helped open up and work with the CBS folks to ensure they had what they needed. I felt a bit bad the place was closed, so I baked two apple pies for them for lunch.”

Kindred and Thomas have said they anticipate the “60 Minutes” story will air later this month.

Thomas also confirmed the Atlanta library has signed a lease for the restaurant with Emily Pugh, who plans to reopen the establishment in early April.

“We’re very excited about the new adventure she is starting at The Palms Grill Cafe and wish her all the best,” Thomas wrote.

The Palms Grill Cafe closed in August due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Palms Grill, built in 1934, was closed for many years but restored and reopened in 2009. It became a must-stop for Route 66 travelers — especially for folks who like its small-town atmosphere and pie.

Kindred’s book details the life of his alcoholic grandson, who died at age 25 in 2014. Less than two years after that, Kindred’s mother died, and his wife suffered a debilitating stroke.

All the while, Kindred stayed sane by writing about the girls basketball team at Morton High School for about 10 seasons. He eventually used his journalistic skills to find out what happened to his grandson before his death.

Kindred said this:

“I never found anyone who had anything bad to say about him. The line I wrote that I really liked was that behind the dirt, behind the grime, behind the scars, real and imagined, there goes you. There is your grandson. There’s a real person there. The next time you see a kid like that walking down the street, just think that it could be your son, it could be you. It could be anybody.”

(Image of the Palms Grill Cafe in Atlanta, Illinois, by Jim Grey via Flickr)

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