[May 05, 2014]CHESTNUT
- The small Logan County town of Chestnut, population 250, was the
scene of a joyous celebration Friday evening. Cesar Vargas, owner of
the Chestnut Family Restaurant, took the oath of citizenship in
Springfield on Friday afternoon.
Chestnut residents and customers of the restaurant, all of whom
Cesar and his wife Rosa and children Juan Roberto and Lupita Lizeth
count as friends; gathered for a party to honor the new US citizen.
Instead of Mr. Vargas cooking for the packed restaurant, the
attendees provided the meal in the form of an old fashioned
The swearing in of the new citizens took place at the Old State
Capital in Springfield at 2 p.m. “Sixty people from 31 different
countries and 6 continents took the oath”, Vargas said. The ceremony
was presided over by Senator Dick Durbin. “It was a fun event but I
was nervous and relieved when it was over,” Vargas said. Friends
from Chestnut and Mount Pulaski traveled to Springfield to attend
Vargas has owned the restaurant for seven years, basically taking a
derelict building and through hard work along with his wife Rosa and
community members, turned it into a vibrant gathering place for
Chestnut. The restaurant is open seven days a week.
When Vargas and his family returned to Chestnut from the ceremony
they were met by a packed house of very appreciative members of the
community. All of the attendees remarked how grateful they were for
the spark that Cesar has provided for the tiny community on Route
Mr. Vargas knows his way around a restaurant business having worked
in many of the most acclaimed eateries in central Illinois.
The Chestnut Family Restaurant has achieved a reputation far and
wide for great food and a family atmosphere. Customers come from
all over central Illinois.
Rosa Vargas thinks so much of her customers that she prepares
special desserts made without sugar for those customers who need to
watch their sugar intake. Her three-milk cake is legendary in the
area. The restaurant even contains a long community table for
friends to gather.
In addition to his new citizenship, Rebecca Drake of Chestnut
arranged for voter registrar Judy Cavestini to issue Cesar his voter
registration during the party. She pointed out that with citizenship
comes the obligation to vote. Drake also interceded with Senator
Durbin’s office to help Vargas navigate the often difficult
application process for citizenship.