Choo Choo McGoo's closing after a decade

Mar. 20—After serving Kokomo for a decade, the family-style restaurant Choo Choo McGoo's is closing.

The restaurant will close its doors March 27, the business announced on its Facebook page Tuesday. According to county property records, the restaurant property was purchased by the owners of the Vietnamese restaurant Pho Nguyen.

Dave Trine, co-owner of the restaurant and a retired Kokomo police officer and former county commissioner, said he and his wife Melissa are at the age where it was time to step away from the hustle and bustle of owning a business. The building, he said, had been on the market for a couple of years already but didn't have any takers until recently.

Still, selling the building and getting out of the restaurant business was "very emotional" for the couple.

"When we walked out of the closing late last week, my wife started crying like a baby," Dave Trine said.

The Trines opened Choo Choo McGoo's in 2014 after Ducky's Family Restaurant was closed by the state of Indiana over unpaid taxes and debt.

Choo Choo McGoo's specialized in home cooking, offering locals hand-cut ribeye and prime ribs, tenderloin sandwiches, homemade chicken and pasta, pan-fried chicken and more.

"It was a true family restaurant," Trine said. "Kokomo's been very good to me and my family. ... We truly want to thank the community from the bottom of our hearts. It's been a good ride."

Choo Choo McGoo's was not the Trine's first foray in the restaurant business.

In 1990, the couple opened Kool Breeze Ice Cream & Pizza at the southwest corner of Markland and South Washington, where they sold 40 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream and a par-baked dough pizza.

The owner of the property, though, chose to sell and bulldoze the gas station and the small 800-square-feet building Kool Breeze operated out of.

The two then opened Kool Breeze Cafe at the corner of Apperson Way and Gano Street and operated that until 2008, when it was destroyed by arson.

Tyler Juranovich can be reached at 765-454-8577, by email at tyler.juranovich@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @tylerjuranovich.