The wait for those burgers, ribs and some updated decor is finally over with Brandt's Little Cafe officially reopening Tuesday as Brandt's of Palatine.
"We were hoping to keep it quiet at first, but we've already been bombarded," co-owner Walt Oswald said. "Word is getting out, and people are excited."
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Earlier this year, Oswald and fellow Palatine resident Jim Iuorio stepped up to purchase the longtime dining staple at Northwest Highway and Quentin Road before it was put on the auction block.
While the burgers and ribs are still the highlight, Oswald said the menu has been expanded to feature items such as wraps, entree sides, bratwurst from the Brat Stop in Wisconsin, desserts and a wine list.
Major changes to the building itself include new plumbing and electric, as well as a new kitchen, roof, walls, floors and furniture. The room to the right of the entrance features a new bar rail, high tables, stools and TVs, while the upstairs women's bathroom is being completely gutted.
Oswald said the parking lot still needs to be paved and he hopes to build an outdoor deck this summer.
According to Daily Herald archives, the gray stone building originally was an Inverness farmhouse dating back about 130 years. The building was moved to what's now 807 W. Northwest Highway in the 1920s. Brandt's opened more than 65 years ago and has operated there since 1968.
The new Brandt's is equipped with a new fire alarm system to try to prevent a recurrence of the devastating 2002 blaze that closed the restaurant for several months.
"We've done a ton of work," Oswald said. "And all it took was to change the sign from 'coming soon' to 'now open.' People were waiting."
For more information, call (847) 496-4388 or visit brandtsofpalatine.com.