The menu of restaurant options in downtown Libertyville continues to expand with another new arrival in the works.
Main Street Social, a Mediterranean-themed operation, is planned for the former Lindsey's gifts and collectibles shop at 608 N. Milwaukee Ave. The venture is a collaboration among three friends who determined the hot Libertyville market offered the best chance of success.
"We felt like Libertyville was the right place," said Patrick Pipp, who runs a giftware business in Bloomingdale and Bright Angel Wines, an Internet-based business.
Pipp met Libertyville resident Ken Stemke in 1984 at his first job out of college -- as a loan officer at Libertyville National Bank -- and the pair kept in touch. Stemke, a commercial banker, served on the MainStreet Libertyville board for eight years, including four years as chairman and assistant chairman.
"We had been looking for a while and targeted downtown Libertyville," he said. "When Vive Le Vine closed early (in) 2015, we felt that Libertyville was missing a place with a wine focus."
Chicago resident Duke Ross, who has opened three restaurants, most recently Bar Siena on Randolph Street in the west Loop, for the Dine/Amic Group, will be the operating partner.
"We're going to be a wine bar, first and foremost," Ross said. "We're going to be doing works of art with the cheese boards."
Classics, such as eggs Benedict, oysters, flatbreads and pastas, will be included in a mix of "very classic" dishes, he said. Whimsy will be part of various aspects of the operation, added Ross, a bartender for many years.
"When they leave, we want them to have a smile on their face. I grew up watching 'Cheers.' Either in the bar or restaurant, we want to be that place," Ross said.
Pipp said the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant will focus on small plates of food and boutique California wines.
In recent years, Libertyville has seen a jump in the number and diversity of downtown restaurants, including six within sight of Main Street Social. Downtown's popularity has contributed to a decision to build a second parking deck, which is in progress.
Stemke said the number of visitors will increase as the restaurant community continues to evolve and improve.
"It's synergistic in the way that the whole becomes greater than the parts, with unique offerings and not much overlap at all," he said. "I believe that you will see a significant increase in the number of visitors when the second parking garage is completed in January."
Architectural sketches for the restaurant are being with a tentative opening scheduled for November. The parking garage is expected to be completed in January.