Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect that while Tim Panagakis owned Dunton House when it opened in 1969, it has been owned by Bill and Nancy Tsapralis for the last 15 years.
New restaurants will be filling several vacant locations across Arlington Heights in 2013, according to village officials.
While the village struggles to find takers for more high-profile vacancies such as the former Wellington, Yanni's and the Arlington Theater, Business and Development Coordinator John Melaniphy said there's a bright spot in the new eateries elsewhere around town in the upcoming year.
The former Max & Erma's location at 306 E. Rand Road has sat empty for about five years, but now a local restaurant family is getting ready to open a new breakfast and lunch spot there.
Tim Panagakis, whose family was the original owner of Dunton House and also owns La Tasca in downtown Arlington Heights, as well as Black Cow in Mount Prospect and Jimmy's Charhouse locations in Elgin and Libertyville, will be opening Honey Berry at the long-vacant spot.
Panagakis is working with the village to get building permits for Honey Berry, which will serve upscale breakfasts and lunches.
"We have a big family mostly living in Arlington Heights; that's home for our family," Panagakis said. "It'll be good for the community."
Without much breakfast competition in that part of town, Melaniphy said he expects the new restaurant to do well when it opens in the spring.
Construction also is finishing on the former La Titi de Paris, 1015 W. Dundee Road, which closed in June after 40 years in business. Shorewood Development group brought the property near the intersection of Kennicott and Dundee roads and is transforming the restaurant into a multi-tenant building that will house Caribou Coffee, Qdoba Mexican Grill and Supercuts.
On the south side of town, the space at 222 E. Algonquin Road, occupied by Boston Blackie's until its 2010 closing, will soon be filled by Rackhouse Tavern, a sports bar and barbecue restaurant that is working to open by spring, Melaniphy said.
"It's a tremendous location off the highway; it's a beautiful facility. We expect the new owners to generate some fairly significant sale tax revenues," he said.
The village hasn't had as much luck with Yanni's or the Wellington nearby, larger restaurants that closed this year. Both facilities were for sale by their owners for several years before the closings and remain available, Melaniphy said.
The village has reached out to several chains, including Golden Corral, Tilted Kilt, Bob Evans, Rock Bottom Brewery, Lettuce Entertain You, Greek Islands, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Miller's Ale House and others, but it hasn't received any offers yet.
Officials also hope to land Gino's East in Arlington Heights, an opening made possible when the pizzeria announced it is closing its location at 1321 Golf Road in Rolling Meadows to make way for Panera Bread. Melaniphy said the village has reached out to Gino's, hoping to bring them to the Arlington Heights.
Melaniphy pointed to the success of Cooper's Hawk as an example that Arlington Heights is still a good place for large restaurants to open and expand.
"Given the improvement in the restaurant sales environment recently we're confident we'll identify a buyer and recycle those spaces, but it may take some time," he said.