*Scroll to the bottom of this page to see letters and updates that have since followed the original posting of this story.


Being a kid in Lisle, this place was always one of the biggest mysteries to me.
A place my parents warned me to stay away from but really never told me why.

When my friends would sleep over in the summer, one of our favorite late night things to do was to ride our bikes up there and spy on the goings-on at this forbidden fortress of the kings. We'd carefully hide our bikes in the field in back and then sneak our way up closer for a better look. As kids, we felt like Army commandos on a secret mission. God forbid someone noticed my red reflective bike licence sticker that I got from the Lisle Police!! It was stuck to the fender of my bike and had my official" Village of Lisle" licence number on it. I could be identified as a spy! And it was after 10:30 at night!!! (Gasp!)

Late Saturday nights were the best for spying. On weekends, the parking lot was always filled with big beautiful cars. In fact, I'd never even seen a Mercedes Benz until this place opened up. The woman going into the restaurant were beautiful! They wore furs, jewelry, long dresses and smelled like the perfume department at Topps. Most of the men wore suits and had slicked back hair. I remember how many of them would be smoking cigars. (To this day, the smell of cigars reminds me of those lightning bug filled summer nights.) They all looked as if they had just stepped out of one of those cool mafia movies. I thought it was neat 'cause they'd always have someone else park and retrieve their cars. And they would always hand some guy money just before they got into their vehicle! Dollar bills! Five dollar bills! Twenties!!

Holy crap!! What was this place?

This, my dear, was (drum roll) Sam Sutter's King's Palace!

Prior to King's Palace, this building was home to the Lisle VFW.


Lisle historic kings palace


Lisle historic kings palace 2

Lisle historic kings palace 3
The Kings Palace sign on 53 near Warrenville Rd. (The "Standard" gas station in the background is now a "BP" gas station)

Close-up of the marquee from just below the big sign (on left.) It reads "WE SHALL RETURN."

The sad remains of one heck of a party! King's Palace after it "burned down" in the 70s. This site is now the Honda car dealership on 53.

To me as a kid, King's Palace just seemed so out of place in Lisle.
I never understood why all these fancy people would be flocking there! They didn't seem like the Lisle people I knew. And where did they all come from every weekend? Again, it was my great mystery!

Ok, so back to the spying adventures. So we carefully snuck closer. Our mission at this point was pretty clear.. We had to try and get a look inside this place! What was in there?

After about an hour of ditching in between parked cars and bushes, we finally made it up to the side of the door. I was in the perfect position to get a quick glimpse. I waited for what seemed like an eternity. I was stuck under a bush, it was a hot muggy night and those stupid ants were getting in my ripped up sneakers. I looked back for my friend and, like most of my loyal two friends, he went back for his bike and split! That's right.. Who knew what these people would have done to us if we got busted. So he left me there hiding at ground level watching the legs and feet of these fancy people shuffle past me and into the great mystery palace. I thought my heart was going to beat right out of my chest!

And then the unthinkable happened. Like the voice of God behind me, a man's voice asked.. "Can I help you?" And this wasn't just a standard "Can I help you." This had the emphasis on the "I"!!! You know.. The suspicious "Can EYE help you?"

Well all kids growing up in Lisle know one or two lines that could get you out of just about any spying situation. It almost never fails! All kids have "pre-spying" meetings about what line there going to use that night if they get "caught." And I knew it was the perfect time to spring "the line."

Scrunched there on the ground, my face in the dirt, I looked up and I said the line. "Uh yeah, I'm... I'm looking for my dog?"
He stared down at me forever. I figured this was the end of the road for me anyway. I couldn't help but think about how many cops were going to be arriving to arrest me.

And then, to my surprise the man asked, "what kind of dog is it?"

Holy CRAP I thought! I wasn't ready for that! What kind of dog??? I froze! I couldn't even say a word. I had only prepared myself with "the Line" but was completely unprepared for anything further. My friend and I had only discussed the "I'm looking for my dog" line. I mean, who would have thought someone would actually ask "What kind?"

At this point I could have just flew out of the bushes, ran and hoped for the best. Or maybe I could have used one of our other great lines like "my friend's dad's brother's dad's sister knows the owner's good friend...? But nope... I just sat there waiting to pee my pants.
And then like a ray of glory from God, the man asked "would you like to look inside?" What??? Hallelujah! I couldn't believe it! Him and his wigged fancy lady knew what I was up to this whole time! Slowly, the fancy people opened the door and let me peak into the belly of "The Palace!"

This was the one and only time in my life I'd ever seen the inside of King's Palace. When they opened the door, I remember the cool air conditioned air hitting my dirty, sweat drenched face. My first impression was RED! Yeah, red... Everything in there was red. There were red carpeted stairs that led up to a lobby area. There seemed to have been red wallpaper and even more red carpet. There was a small coat check area and a large open doorway that led to a room that had red white and blue chrome streamers hanging from the ceiling.This place looked like a huge New Year's / Fourth of July party.

I could hear a live lounge band playing just past the streamer filled doorway. It was loud. There were fancy people everywhere! Laughing, drinking and stumbling in delight. I wondered how all these old fancy people could be having such a good time. Maybe the color red and the sound of a bad lounge band is what old fancy people really wanted out of life.

I could never imagine anyone we knew in this place. And after only a few seconds, I realized that I was completely out of my element. No line would ever work for me in this place. I remember how one of the fancy ladies looked at me when I peaked in. She gave me a sympathetic little smile. I felt like she thought I was a little alien or something. I quickly turned my little alien butt around, thanked the couple and headed out the door.

Outside it was quiet. Except for the hum of traffic on 53, it was peaceful again. I felt like I had just experienced another planet! And being outside, picking up my bike and riding home through the dark field, I felt like I was the normal one. And those people... That loud "fancy people" laughter.. Those streamers... That terrible lounge band... They were the aliens! Not me. I was just glad to have escaped. I couldn't wait to tell my "loyal" friend all about it!

Ok. Now the secret. Remember when we had to sell those stupid chocolate bars for school? You know, sell 50 boxes and you get a Bozo notebook and a pen with glitter floating in it? Boy did they know how to work us kids! I think if you sold 800 boxes it would help defray the cost of a 3-day trip to Springfield with the History club. Your parents then would only have to pay $200 instead of $225.
My sister once brought home a box of those bars to sell for school. She went through every neighborhood, to every store, even to our parents. She could not sell a single one. The only people that "bought" them were us kids. And we swore that we would pay her... You know, "as soon as we got the money." We had to find consumers for this crap...And soon! But who???

Then it hit me!!! The fancy people!! The wigs, the red carpet people!! The scores of happy aliens that I saw flooding out of "The Palace" The money!! Oh boy did we have an idea!

So we waited for nightfall. Dressed in our shabby t-shirts, cut-offs and summertime bare feet, we gathered up the chocolate bars and started out across the field to Kings Palace. It was about this time we noticed our 3-legged little dog following us through the field. He lost one of his legs on 53 a few years before. He got along just fine. And I think he felt that tonight was "his" night to go check out the fancy people at the Palace. So we found a piece of string for a leash and off we went. Walking through that dark field, we could hear the sound of the fancy people getting closer and closer. Their cars, their laughter, their perfume and cigars lofting in the night air. We walked right up to the door and "hung out" and waited for the celebration inside to let out..

And then, before we knew it, the real action started to happen. The elegant, beautiful, fancy people, that we had watched going in, where now coming out after dinner and "whatever." The woman, heels in hand, were giggling and stumbling and their wigs were crooked. The couples looked as if they had just been through a wind tunnel. They would be laughing and talking... And then their eyes would land on us. To them we must have looked like vagabonds! Our clothes were shabby, (C'mon, it was Summer!) we were barefooted. Oh, and what's this? Oh my! A cute little dog with only 3-legs! The fancy woman couldn't get to us faster! The 3-legged dog was the ultimate attention getter.

The fancy woman would always ask questions about the dog. We would tell them the story but I'm really not sure they'd hear us. They were too busy saying "ooh, poor thiiing, he's so cuuute." After they would fall completely in love with the dog, it was time to get to work.

"Maam? We're selling these delicious chocolate candy bars for our school project. Their very good and you would really be helping us accomplish our goal?" (Whatever that goal was) Would you care for one please?"

Now the big secret! Not only did these "aliens" buy the chocolate bar... But they were giving us fives, tens and, now and then, twenties!!! For one chocolate bar! Sometimes they wouldn't even take the chocolate. That was ok! We weren't offended in the least!

Walking home through the field that night, we all made a secret pact. The pact was none of us would ever reveal our "secret" to selling those chocolate bars. My sister went on to be a major player in the Lisle Jr. High candy bar sales force. Yes, She was "on top of her game!" No one knew why.

King's Palace remained a mystery to me for the years that followed. Their giant "white tent" parties with belly dancers, sitar players, sports stars, mimes and even big chunks of ice carved to look like birds! This place seemed so over the top for Lisle. Even Sam Sutter's daughter was probably one of the town's most "over the top" beautiful girls. I mean..What-was-this-guy's magic?

Even when we were awoken one winter pre-dawn morning by my mother's yells. "Get up! Kids get up!" We all jumped out of bed and looked across the field to see flames shooting out of the roof of King's Palace. It was unreal to say the least! The Fire Department was probably just getting the call because we heard no sirens. Just these 40 foot massive flames licking the night sky and the fire sounding like a huge crackling bonfire.

As I watched the firemen shooting the water on what was left of the building, I noticed a side door was partially open and I positioned myself to be able to get a quick look inside. I could see what was left of some of the red carpet.. Some red wall paper and some red white and blue metallic streamers.
But I didn't see any fancy people.

I'm not sure whatever happened to Sam Sutter or his beautiful daughter.
Last time I was home, I drove up Warenville Road. The Sutter house is still up on the hill but you would never notice. It's completely overgrown and abandon.

The field (our field) behind King's Palace is now "Honda of Lisle." In fact, the owner of Honda owns most of the sourounding area. He has bought up most of the lots and homes sorounding Honda in preperations for expanding his little empire. Most of the homes he bought, he has burned to the ground and are now empty lots. He has made rediculously low offers to purchase the last two homes. The homes are both sorounded by his now aquired land and they are the only obsticles to completing his huge parcell. So far the home owners haven't accepted his offers. I think he knows the owners are old and it's just a matter of time.

Oh, just for the heck of it, I entered "King's Palace" on the Google search engine... Nothing.
I entered a few of the Sutter's names on Google... Nothing.

As always... A mystery.

*Since the original posting of this story, we have been flooded with letters, questions, rumors and even pictures all having to do with Sam Sutter and King's Palace. It's pretty clear to me now that I wasn't the only person to find this guy extraordinary. The world had Elvis and Tom Jones.... Lisle had Sam Sutter!
Scroll down to see the latest entries.

(R.L.: The following are letters from former "Lisle-lites" trying to shine a little light onto where the legendary SAM SUTTER is today. Read some of these. Notice that they all have "The King" placed in different places! Again I ask... What is it about this guy? And can someone tell me what kind of cologne this man wears? I have to get some!
If you've had a "Sam Sutter sighting," please write and let us know. Photos would really be appreciated!)


Dorothy (Wetterquist) Wilgus

Sam Sutter currently owns/operates a bar on the outskirts of Sandwich called
The Hideout. It's the only place in the area open past 1 AM and it is always

Kathe (Buss) Keeler

What a wonderful site! You can spend hours! Thanks for the gift!

Here is some news on Sam Sutter...... He owns the new restaurant/bar -- BRASS
in South Barrington just off I-90, across from the Mill Rose Brewery. I think
he still even sings there on occasion.

I teach at Barrington High School and had the pleasure of his grandson, Nick in
my Film class. Nick is the spitting image of Gus (except blonde)! I saw his
face, heard his last name, and just knew he was one of the Lisle Sutters! I
have fond memories of the Sutter boys on their motorcycles in the Buss
driveway, picking up my sisters. I was only about 9, but I had such a crush on

Mary Ellen (Fischer) Johnson

To help solve the mystery....I worked at the "Palace" as a cocktail waitress, I dated Randy Sutter for most of my high school days, having lots of memories at that house on the hill.... They now own Café La Cave in Rosemont, IL. and most of the kids work there...even Kim...Rose, unfortunately passed away this last year..she was a sweet and hard working lady...as far as Sam goes I heard he had a bar somewhere..not sure where though....This is a great web site..Hope this helps.. I'll share more another time...

Rick Incrocci

Last I knew of, Sam was in Ottawa operating a bar/pub called, I think "Cheetah" (not sure of spelling.
Prior to that, he had a restaurant in Lombard, then he sold cars, then he had a pub called "Sam's Place" in St. Charles, then a place in Sandwich, Illinois.
He moves around a lot - but he's always into something other than retirement.

" Mafia"

Randy Sutter is now running the Cafe La Cave located at
2777 Mannheim Rd DesPlaines
His mother Rose died earlier last year and used to own and operate this restaurant.
Randy's x girlfriend and homecoming queen Mary Ellen Fischer is now living in Michigan and is happily married with 3 kids. ( none are Randy's). They remain friends to this day.

Jimmy 'T-bone' Kelly
Dublin, Ireland

wow. some story to find. i was a busboy there in the 70's. gussie was a year older than me, everyone loved him, and i sold randys band guitars n stuff years later when i worked at the short-lived lisle music center. the boys were each legends in their own right, i watched georgie beat up the gym teacher in high school. they were always good to me, as was their hard-working mom. may she rest in peace.i learned so much from her. sam was larger than life, and the whole kings palace era left an indelible impression on me. brilliant. thanks.

(R.L.: T-Bone! Yours is probably the most entertaining letter yet!! I'm not sure why... Maybe it's the part about Georgie???

Anyway, you'll be happy to know that the mystery of where Sam Sutter is located has finally been resolved. Myself, along with longtime Lisle-ite Kathy (Buss) Keeler tracked him down at his amazing restaurant / bar called BRASS in South Barrington .
I felt like I was shaking hands with a legend! He still gets on Mic and entertains.. Talks with guests at there tables and makes you feel like you're more special than you really are. His place is the epitome of cool... He is truly a classic!
Go to BRASS... Talk with Sam and you'll know what I mean! They really don't make 'em like this any more.)

Yours truly with Kathe (Buss) Keeler and the man himself... After all these years... Sam Sutter!


Here is your's truly with Sam's unbelievably beautiful daughter Kim. When she walked into our class reunion, the waters parted! Most were stunned. Again, the Sutter magic!


Christopher Varney

Although it was strictly a rumor, I heard the King's Palace restaurant (which my family visited once in 1974) was torched when the owner got involved with the mob. But I'm not sure what the real story is. I suspect the fire was caused by something electrical or some other type of accident. Obviously, however, the restaurant was never rebuilt.

Bob Thompson

Hi Mike,
Courtesy of Steve and Kristy Wavra of Lisle are these gems.
The first is a place mat from the table, and the other is a postcard.

Click image to see the larger view. Click image to see the larger view.

Gary Klima

Hey Mike,
I'm sending these pics of Sam Sutter/King's Palace treasures, which commemorated the celebration of 76.
They are curtousy of Glen Canale, who came across them strored away in his archives.
They are an original King's palace ashtray and coaster.


Click image to see the larger view. Click image to see the larger view.


Click here to visit Sam Sutter's restaurant today called "BRASS".
Those who visit are likely to see Sam Sutter himself walking around and chatting with customers.
And yes, he even picks up the microphone just as he always had.


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