JOLIET, IL — During my time running Joliet Patch, restaurant and bar stories have emerged as a top priority. Why, you ask? Because that’s what thousands of readers prefer — much more so than reading about routine meetings of Joliet’s City Council or Will County Board, for example.
As Joliet Patch continues to produce more insightful and exclusive restaurant and bar content, Patch continues to increase its loyal audience. During January, the Joliet Patch Facebook page surpassed 75,000 followers.
I’m pleased to share that January marked another strong month for covering the Joliet area’s restaurant and bar scene. Many of these Joliet Patch stories were positive, such as the ones on several new Joliet restaurants opening. However, the situation out of Wilmington involving Holly Barker and her shuttered Launching Pad restaurant was not.
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Here’s a look back at 10 Joliet Patch bar and restaurant stories that I published during the month of January:
New Joliet Restaurant Opened By Gordie Gillespie’s Daughter Meg
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Around Joliet, the late Gordie Gillespie was regarded as the winningest coach to ever come out of the self-proclaimed City of the Champions. Now, his daughter, Meg, has returned to Joliet, after 14 years in Clearwater, Florida as a private chef. Jan. 10 marked the official passing of the torch from the now-closed Thayer Bros. Deli, as Meg Gillespie opened her new sit-down restaurant, Magpie’s Joy of Eating, at 753 1/2 Ruby Street.
Joliet Restaurant Reopens With New Name, New Menu: 10 Photos
With the arrival of 2024, well-known Joliet restaurant owner Tom Grotovsky has replaced his Great American Bagel at 1101 Essington Road by launching a new restaurant called The Curator’s Cafe.
“I am 62 years old and historically, our slowest month is always January,” Grotovsky remarked. “I had to make a change for personal growth, family life and a better life for myself. I want it to be known as having good food, pleasant atmosphere, good service and local and national artists on display. I think that’s really important.”
The Curator’s Cafe is now open six days a week, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Grotovsky’s menu includes a half dozen different breakfast sandwiches for $6.59, and there’s also the Grab & Go Egg Bake for $4.99, with hash browns, eggs, cheese and bacon. He continues to feature an assortment of fresh brewed coffees from Hawaii.
Elder Brewing Announces It’s Closing Time For Good In Joliet
After several days of rumors that Elder Brewing Company was closing for good, the owners made the announcement official on Jan. 3: Elder Brewing Company is done. It lasted for six years and two months. Its closure leaves Joliet with zero microbreweries.
Elder opened in November 2017, which was four months after MyGrain Brewing opened in the historic Union Train Station. MyGrain Brewing folded last August and its property remains empty.
“It is with sadness that we announce the closure of Elder Brewing Co. We are incredibly thankful for this experience and your support over the last 6+ years. Our lives, the world, and the economy have all changed drastically since we began this adventure, and we don’t have the resources to continue down the current path,” Elder Brewing posted on its Facebook page.
Destruction Of Launching Pad Underway, Police Cite Owner: 12 Photos
Hundreds of vehicles have driven past Wilmington’s iconic Gemini Giant and Launching Pad restaurant along historic U.S. Route 66 to survey the damage caused when property owner Holly Barker, age 51, began removing contents and equipment from her shuttered restaurant, according to authorities.
On Jan. 3, Joliet Patch found the Launching Pad parking lot littered with shards of broken glass from several Route 66 soda bottles. Other junk and equipment is strewn throughout the parking lot and placed around the Gemini Giant.
Wilmington’s Deputy Police Chief Justin Dole told Joliet Patch that Barker was given two ordinance violation tickets as a result of Tuesday night’s conduct involving the destruction of property.
‘Legendary’ Beef Roll Puts Rockdale’s Roc City Bar & Grill On The Map
Rockdale, the town of 2,000 along Larkin Avenue, can no longer be regarded as Joliet’s sleepy little neighbor to the south, thanks to “Tommy Z” Zoretic and Kevin Batus, the co-owners of Roc City Bar & Grill, and their “legendary beef rolls.”
In just over two years, their bar and restaurant at 508 Moen Avenue — thanks to their beef rolls — has put Rockdale back on the food destination map. And get this: Roc City stays open 20 hours a day, seven days a week.
New Joliet Restaurant: Wings, Rib Tips, Slabs Of Ribs And Desserts
There is optimism on Joliet’s southeast side as 2024 unfolds, all thanks to Jack Dunklin and his new restaurant, Jack’s Chick’N Ribs. One month ago, he opened Jack’s Chick’N Ribs on Richards Street at the empty convenient store next to the Minor-Morris Funeral Home.
On Jan. 11, the Jack’s parking lot was busy as people were picking up their carryout orders. As Jerry Herron waited at the counter at 124 Richards St., the owner of Jack’s emerged from the kitchen and gave him free rib tips to sample.
“Oh man, that’s great. The bristle is even tender,” Herron told the owner. “That sauce is amazing.”
Cemeno’s Pizza Continues To Thrive In Joliet In 48th Year: Photos
At a time when several Plainfield and Joliet area bars and restaurants are shutting down, one of Joliet’s longest operating restaurants is counting its blessings because business is booming. Sue Schultz, her sister Natalie Cemeno and their brother Michael operate Cemeno’s Pizza at 1630 Essington Road. Their restaurant has stood the test of time, remaining one of Joliet’s preferred locations when it comes to a family outing.
Cemeno’s Pizza has achieved 2,065 Google reviews, averaging 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. Historically, November and December are the two busieset months for Cemeno’s Pizza because the restaurant becomes a gathering point for families and friends to celebrate the holidays.
“Over Christmas, it was insanity,” Schultz said during Thursday’s interview. “We probably had anywhere from 15 to 20 bookings per night. If we ha
Cemeno’s Pizza Expanding To Joliet Park District’s Inwood Rec Center
One of the most popular sit-down pizza restaurants in the Chicago region, Joliet’s own, Cemeno’s Pizza, will be adding a second location, right here in Joliet.
Joliet Park District Executive Director Brad Staab confirmed for Joliet Patch that Cemeno’s is finalizing a lease agreement with the park district to take over the vacated restaurant and bar space formerly used by The Dock at Inwood.
New Joliet Restaurant At Ruby, Hickory Offers ‘Something Different’
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Four years and two months after “Coming Soon” signs were draped over Joliet’s former El Primo restaurant at the corner of Hickory and Ruby streets, Pollo Loco Latino has opened, after finding new owners to take it over.
Elizabeth Dominguez, who came to Joliet three years ago from New York, said she acquired ownership of the Joliet restaurant venture, and she recruited her brother Jose Dominguez, who worked in New York, to be her new chef and run the Joliet kitchen for Pollo Loco Latino Bar-Restaurant.
Super China Buffet Turns Into Jefferson Street Dump: Photos
Super China Buffet, a long-time fixture at Joliet’s 2138 West Jefferson Street, has turned into an abandoned restaurant and the property is turning into an eyesore, Joliet Patch discovered on Tuesday.
At this point, the city of Joliet building inspections department has taken no action against the owners of the building, who have chosen to let the former restaurant turn into a dump.
Windows are broken. Trash is littered throughout the property. Exterior parking lot lighting is smashed. It’s even possible that homeless people are staying inside the property.
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