JOLIET, IL – September saw the loss of the beloved Chicken-N-Spice restaurant in downtown Joliet on North Chicago Street. Since then, Chefy’s Kitchen has announced its closure this month on Plainfield Road. Additionally, on Plainfield Road, Russo’s Authentic Italian Deli & Cafe in Crest Hill will close its doors on the eve of its first anniversary.
Even the national chains bail out Joliet. This week, Joliet’s only Long John Silver restaurant posted a âCLOSEDâ sign in its windows and removed its drive-thru menu.
But all is not gloomy for the restaurants and bars of Joliet.
After all, Mike Paone of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce has just announced the creation of the new Joliet Region Food and Beverage Association.
He said interest had surfaced in forming a strong and unified voice for the food and beverage industry in the Joliet area due to the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Joliet Food and Beverage Association will include:
- Cemeno’s Pizza, Sue Schultz
- Al’s Steakhouse – George Daskalakis
- Large American bagel – Tom Grotovski
- Cut 158 ââChophouse / Hamburgerseria / etc. – Bill Dimitroulas
- Heroes of the West -Joe Colkinis
- Domaine Jacob Henry – Sue Bornhofen
- Syl’s / Renaissance Center – Don Williams
Paone said JRFBA’s mission is to bring together leaders in the food and beverage industry to collaborate, share best practices, advocate for industry needs and priorities, and drive economic growth.
On Thursday, the owner of Al’s Steakhouse told Joliet Patch he was very happy to see the organization forming and getting underway.
âI think the more restaurateurs that get together, the greater the power,â Daskalakis told the publisher of Joliet Patch. “I really think there is a benefit to all restaurateurs in having a fellowship in order to unite … and have a voice.”
The JRFBA will be open to member and non-member chambers, as will the current Joliet chamber subgroup structures.
Paone said a board of directors will meet monthly to ensure the group’s mission is achieved through various programs and events for their members.
âEveryone who is involved in running an establishment is very familiar with both the challenges and the pleasure of being in the industry. This group will bring together individuals to bond, use our resources to solve difficult problems, unleash talent and all support a way in which we can collectively rise to the top of our profession, ânoted Tom Grotovsky of the Great American Bagel. on Essington Road in the House press release.
The first major event for the new Joliet restaurant group will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on October 26 at Heroes West, 1530 Commerce Lane in Joliet.
The event will feature hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar with a schedule starting at 5:15 p.m. with commentary from Joliet House Speaker Jen Howard, JRFBA leadership and others. guests.
Interested businesses in the community can find more information by calling 815-727-5371, Paone said.