A group of three business partners can't get enough of downtown East Dundee.
Not only did the team open the Sweet Pop Fizz Candy Bar at 316 N. River St. last Friday, but it will also fire up a barbecue restaurant late this summer half a block away.
"We love little downtown areas," said Robert "Buzz" Doyle who is running both ventures with Kelli Keyzers and Patrick Maggi. "There's downtown Chicago and then there's downtown everywhere else and what we try to do is bring the Michigan Avenue flavors and food and profiles to middle America ... to the hometown downtown. Because I don't think you need to drive into Chicago to be able to get something like this."
The team selected the shop's name, Sweet Pop Fizz Candy Bar, based on what's sold there.
"Sweet" is for the candy, pastries, cakes and chocolates, "Pop" represents the 11 varieties of gourmet popcorn, the "Fizz" is what's in the soda, beer and bubbly, and the "Candy Bar" offers selections of candy and is also where you can sit and enjoy what you've just bought.
In addition to those goodies, the sweet shop sells wine as well as gifts, such as water bottles, bottle coverings and other novelties. Espresso and coffee are on the way, as are tastings, holiday and community events and wine and chocolate pairings.
Most of the shop's products are all natural and locally sourced, Keyzers said. Their goal was to create something that plays on all of the senses.
"We want it fun and young and accessible," Keyzers said. "I don't want a chocolate shop where you come in and you have people walking around quietly."
The future barbecue restaurant, called Blue's BBQ, will offer barbecued meats in multiple varieties, including Memphis-style ribs, pulled pork and chicken, and meats prepared in the "naked style," that is, without barbecue sauce.
The restaurant, slated for 220 N. River St., is expected to seat 124 diners on the lower level and the number on the upper level has not been determined.
The trio found East Dundee thanks to their business broker, who routed them to the village that's rebuilding its downtown.
The group then met with Village President Lael Miller and Tom Roeser, owner of Otto Engineering, the biggest employer in neighboring Carpentersville.
Roeser has partnered with East Dundee to revitalize its downtown in part by buying and renovating several buildings in the neighborhood, then recruiting businesses to occupy them.
He has received financial assistance from the village for multiple projects through a tax-increment finance district. He will turn to the village once for similar help with the renovation project at the future barbecue restaurant. Roeser owns four buildings on North River Street alone, including the two the trio are using for the shop and barbecue restaurant.
"We looked for a deli and finally found one," Roeser said of In the Neighborhood Meet Market that opened in 2013. "We said we wanted a chocolate shop and we finally found one. We said we wanted specialty restaurants ... and we found a barbecue spot and we will continue to look for different restaurateurs. Our goal is to reach critical mass of great restaurant operators so they can each help each other."