Adios Adolph’s: Adolph’s Mexican Foods in Moline closes its doors after seventy years.

Leslie Carter, owner of Adolph’s Mexican Foods in Moline, hopes that her customers know just how much they meant to her and that her dad knows just how hard she worked to keep his legacy alive and well. Photo by Phil Cunningham / Hola America

Everyone knows the saying when one door closes, another one opens. And after seventy years of serving the Quad Cities, Adolph’s Mexican Foods restaurant on the Ave of the Cities will close its doors on December 24th but, lucky for its patrons, will keep the East Moline location’s door open still. 

“I think we’ll rest,” said Adolph’s owner, Leslie Carter when asked what she and her family will do the first week they are closed.  “I imagine I’ll wake up, and I probably won’t be able to drive this way without coming here automatically.  It will be different.”

It was Leslie’s father, Adolph Perez who started Adolph’s but it did some traveling before settling into the familiar spot in Moline that so many have grown to love over the years.  “The very first one was in East Moline, and it was called El Sombrero,” explained Carter.  “Then he opened in Rock Island, right off Centennial. Then, he opened the Moline location down on 5th ave.”  It was in 1977 that they opened where they are at now and Leslie worked there then, and all but one brother have worked in the business. Her other brothers Frank and John eventually opened up their own Adolph’s restaurant in Milan and East Moline respectively.  The restaurant in East Moline, owned by her brother John since 1982, will be the last remaining Adolph’s. 


Leslie Carter, owner of Adolph’s Mexican Foods in Moline, announced last week that their last day of business will be December 24. Her father, Adolph Perez, was the founder of her family’s business 70 years ago.
Photo by Phil Cunningham / Hola America

The announcement of their closing spread like wildfire on social media last week, and Carter said the love and support have been overwhelming.  “There are no words,” said Carter. “We are overwhelmingly humbled by stories and all the tears and hugs.  You know you serve food, but you don’t realize how much you are a part of their celebrations.”

Bobby Carter, Grandson of Adolph and former employee, shared some stories of his own of his grandpa’s restaurant over the years.  “I guess growing up, I didn’t know how big it was,” said Carter.  “But I guess we didn’t think of it like that. The older I got, the more I appreciated it.” And he remembers working alongside his Grandpa and Grandma over the years as well.  “That was their place,” explained Carter. “It’s sad because the Moline one was theirs.  Once it’s not there, it’s going to hit harder.”

As many in the area race to get their last meal at the Moline location, Carter hopes that her customers will continue to go to the East Moline location run by her brother and also know just how much they meant to her and that her dad knows just how hard she worked to keep his legacy alive and well.  “We are grateful for all of you because without the customers, we couldn’t be here,” said Carter.  “These were all his recipes put together, and we haven’t changed anything. We’ve kept the recipes as he taught. It’s his name up on the sign, not mine, so we wanted to keep it the same. And I think we did that.”

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