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updated: 9/11/2013 1:09 PM

New restaurants, businesses planning fall debut in Arlington Heights

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  • Circa 57, a 50s-themed restaurant with a "drive-in" section and authentic soda fountain, will open in the former Grand Station restaurant in downtown Arlington Heights this fall.

       Circa 57, a 50s-themed restaurant with a "drive-in" section and authentic soda fountain, will open in the former Grand Station restaurant in downtown Arlington Heights this fall.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Big Ang's will open in the former Jimmy's Place later this fall in Arlington Heights.

       Big Ang's will open in the former Jimmy's Place later this fall in Arlington Heights.
    Bill Zars | Staff Photographer 2011

 
 

Arlington Heights officials say fall will bring the opening of several new businesses and restaurants -- including a few that had expected to open their doors over the summer.

Circa 57, a nostalgia-themed restaurant downtown, was among those planning to open over the summer. But now owner Anthony Priola said he hopes to have the restaurant operating by the end of this month.

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"We're getting close," Priola said. "Right now we're installing furniture and final equipment. Everyone would love to be open as quickly as possible."

Some of the delays resulted from the ordering of custom furniture to make sure everything in the restaurant fits its 1950s theme, he said.

"We don't want to rush into an opening and not have everything just the way we want it," Priola added. "In order to have the concept be truly what we feel it should be, it's all about the details."

Some of those details will include a classic soda fountain, furnishings from the interior of a typical 1950s house and retrofitted antique cars transformed into diner booths for patrons to sit in as part of a "drive-in" section of the restaurant.

The restaurant will open in two phases, with the diner and soda fountain area opening later this month in the former Grand Station restaurant space, at Vail Avenue and Campbell Street. The drive-in and live entertainment area will open in the former bank space next door sometime in early 2014.

"There's a lot of excitement from the community, a lot of buzz around town," said Priola, who had a booth at Taste of Arlington last month so people could get a sample of the restaurant's menu, including its deep fried cookie dough sundae.

Circa 57 will be hosting a job fair next week and people interested can apply at https://www.facebook.com/circa57. Priola has said the hiring process will be almost like a casting call because he wants the servers and chefs to also play the part of 1950s diner workers.

Village officials are eager for the restaurant to fill the vacant space at a strategic downtown corner.

"We certainly look forward to having them downtown, it'll be a great addition to our community," said Michael Mertes, business development coordinator for the village.

Two other new businesses also will be opening downtown this fall -- a CorePower Yoga at 19 S. Evergreen and an Asian restaurant called Bistro Chen at 10 E. Miner, Mertes said.

Big Ang's, a hot dog restaurant at 640 Northwest Highway, had planned to open over the summer where Jimmy's Place had been an Arlington Heights institution for more than five decades. But the new eatery is still going through the permitting process and should be open this fall, Mertes said.

A Japanese restaurant called Boogytori is slated to open at 932 W. Algonquin later this year, he added.

Earlier this spring AT&T announced it would move 250 jobs from its Hoffman Estates location to Arlington Heights, although the details of when and where those jobs would move have not yet been worked out, Mertes said.

There are several large vacancies on the south end of town including the former Yanni's Greek restaurant and the former Applebee's, both at the corner of Algonquin and Arlington Heights roads. Mertes said the village is actively trying to fill those spots, likely with more restaurants, but hasn't made any deals yet.

"I feel like it's an exciting community and that's why I'm happy to be here," said Mertes, who started with the village this summer. "The swath of new businesses opening up is just one example of us being a destination and a community that's invested in its businesses."

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