Hamilton’s Catering Service is a small family owned business, which has been serving Central Illinois for more than 100 years. Hamilton’s began in 1913 when “Doc” Hamilton, a candy maker by trade, bought out the Ehnie Brother’s Confectioners on East State Street in Jacksonville, Illinois.
“Doc” grew the soda fountain portion of the business and expanded into sandwiches and lunches. Hamilton’s first experience in off-premise food service came during World War One as “Doc” fed troop trains passing through Jacksonville on their way to the war. As time went on his business grew into a major full service restaurant located in what was then the center of commerce for Jacksonville. Catering expanded during this time as “Doc” served food to various social and political as well as church and school related groups in the area.
In the early 1970’s the center of business in Jacksonville started to shift from the downtown square to the busy Morton Avenue area. Doc’s son, George A. (senior), chose at that time to discontinue the restaurant and focus solely on off-premise catering. Soon thereafter Hamilton’s became involved in providing noon meals to area senior citizens for Prairie Council on Aging and Senior Services of Central Illinois. Hamilton’s has the privilege of still working for these organizations today.
As Hamilton’s became more involved in serving senior nutrition programs the area they covered expanded to include Morgan, Sangamon, Menard, Scott, and Cass counties. Geographically, Franklin, IL was in the center of the region Hamilton’s served. George (senior) decided that because of this, he would relocate his kitchen to Franklin. After listening to family, friends, and business associates telling him that having a catering service in a town of 500 people was an extremely stupid move and bound to fail, he did what he always had done. He did what he wanted. He moved his business to Franklin.
This move accomplished two major things for the business. First, it located it to an area where most of the work force had a background in agriculture. Meaning, employees that understood the ideas of hard work and service, and took pride in what they did. We were proud of the people who represented our business then, and we still are today. Secondly, Franklin is less than one half hour from Springfield, so the largest market in Central Illinois was suddenly open. Business grew, and we continue to grow today.
We hope to have the opportunity to use our 100+ years of experience to help with your future event!
The Hamilton Family