Sunnyland resident Cindy Miller said she has never known her hometown without the “staple of existence” that is Harold’s Hamburgers.



Harold’s doors closed permanently Saturday after 40 years in Sunnyland.


Sunnyland resident Cindy Miller said she has never known her hometown without the “staple of existence” that is Harold’s Hamburgers.

Harold’s doors closed permanently Saturday after 40 years in Sunnyland.

“Harold’s holds a lot of memories for me,” Miller said. “It’s weird to think that my youngest, who is 3, won’t have a memory of Harold’s.”

She said her father often took her to the establishment, which was known as Mr. Quick’s until the mid ’80s. She added that she remembers bringing in report cards to redeem “As” for food.

In more recent years, Miller said Harold’s was a special treat for her children.

“Harold’s was a fast-food restaurant that had items that other fast-food chains didn’t,” she said.

Ann VanAcker bought Harold’s about five years ago. She said she is not happy about the business closing, but with lacking business, construction on Washington Road and the “For Sale” sign that building owner Randall Jacobs recently placed in front of the establishment, she had no choice.

“I’ve had people come in and say they’re sorry to see it go,” VanAcker said. “Some have said they had their first job here. They’re sad.”

VanAcker said Monday morning she auctioned off everything in the store “from floor to ceiling since I can’t sell the business.” 

The burger joint’s namesake, Harold Humphries, said Sunnyland’s Mr. Quick was built in late August 1972. In 1983, Mr. Quick’s home office went out of business. After he ran out of materials, such as boxes and wrappers, with the Mr. Quick logo, Humphries changed the name in 1986.

Humphries said he has fond memories of the restaurant he ran with the help of his wife and daughter.

“We always had a good crew and great employees,” he said. “We had some really memorable times with the car club and had a very good rapport with the customers.”

After turning 62 and running the restaurant for 35 years, Harold said, he decided to retire. He sold Harold’s March 1, 2005.

Chuck McCarty, a member of Central Illinois Cruisers, also has memories of the cruise-ins that were often at Harold’s.

“Everybody went to the cruise-ins at Harold’s and loved it,” he said.
He added that it was “nice to have a ’50s place to go to.”

Miller said she and her family made a final trip to Harold’s last week.

“I was saddened,” she said. 

“With the closing of Harold’s comes the flooding of a lot of long-forgotten childhood memories,” Miller said. “Also with those memories comes the sad realization that it’s another business that had been in this community for decades that is leaving.”