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updated: 7/13/2011 4:12 PM

Longtime Itasca restaurant changing hands

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  • Truffles Grove restaurant in Itasca will become Rosanna's Restaurant after nearly three decades in business.

       Truffles Grove restaurant in Itasca will become Rosanna's Restaurant after nearly three decades in business.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

 

Itasca residents must say goodbye to the signature green awnings and palatial, white building that houses Truffles Grove restaurant, which has been a staple in the village for nearly three decades.

Brothers and co-owners Nick, Jimmy and Gus Petmezas have been running the restaurant at 360 Rohlwing Road since 1979, when it was still an English Pub called Mug Pub. The pub was run by their uncle from 1970 until the brothers took over almost a decade later. In 1985, the brothers built an addition, changed the decor and menu and it became Truffles Grove.

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"It has been a landmark in the community, you could say," Nick Petmezas said.

But as one of the brothers struggles with illness and another is set to retire, Nick said they chose to lease the building to a new restaurateur who could carry on their tradition.

"We wanted somebody who could share our commitment and improve the foundation that we put down" said Petmezas. "We weren't going to take just anybody."

And so the brothers chose Henry Lewandowski, who took over the site last week to convert it into Rosanna's Restaurant, which will become a casual family dining destination.

The restaurant is closed and is slated to reopen as Rosanna's in mid- to late-September, as Lewandowski modernizes kitchen equipment, completes upgrades like painting and tries to create a lighter atmosphere.

Lewandowski said the menu will change, but Rosanna's will retain a few customer favorites from the Truffles Grove menu.

Although this is the first time Lewandowski has run his own restaurant, he said he owned a fast-food operation in Portland, Ore., many years ago before he was offered a job with United Airlines and relocated to Illinois. He also managed a restaurant in Dundee that included a full banquet hall.

Itasca is the ideal spot to start his new venture, he said, because "it's a nice community with a people-friendly feel."

And as Petmezas and his brothers say goodbye to Itasca, he said they are thankful to residents for patronizing their business for decades.

"The support for all these years means a lot to me, and I encourage them to support the new restaurant, too."

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