Gene & Georgetti to replace Rosewood in Rosemont?

Rosewood restaurant and banquet hall in Rosemont is planning to close its doors as soon as January and a possible replacement is a Gene & Georgetti restaurant, officials said Tuesday.

Jim Mandas, who opened the Rosewood at 9421 W. Higgins Road in 1990, said he's planning to retire after 25 years of business in Rosemont, and the previous 25 years running the Black Ram restaurant in Des Plaines.

"It's been a great run and I'm looking forward to retirement," said Mandas, 67, who plans to spend more time with his family. "I want to ride off into the sunset."

Tony Durpetti, the owner of Gene & Georgetti, which bills itself as the oldest family-owned steakhouse in Chicago, said he and his family are evaluating the possibility of opening a location at the Rosemont restaurant/banquet facility. If a deal goes through, it would be the first time Gene & Georgetti opens a second location in the restaurant's 74-year history.

Durpetti said other restaurant owners over the years have proposed starting a Gene & Georgetti franchise business.

"We've been approached a few times, but we've always turned them down," Durpetti said. "This one interested us."

He said the restaurant's location near the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center is appealing. And, the banquet facility could be a good fit because Durpetti's daughter, Michelle, runs a wedding and event planning business.

Mayor Brad Stephens said village officials are in negotiations with Mandas to buy him out of a long-term lease for the village-owned property.

"Jim came to us and basically said, 'I want out,' and we saw it as an opportunity to buy out the 47 years he has remaining on the lease," Stephens said. "Back in the day when the deal was made, that was what I think the intention of the board was - in order to attract that type of restaurant. That's what was needed to be done at that time."

Mandas said he plans to retire in January, but will know more in a week.

"It's unofficial because nothing is done until the fat lady sings," he said.

While Stephens said any deal with Gene & Georgetti is also far from official, he does think a restaurant and banquet facility would be best for the building, which is nearly 18,000 square feet.

"Obviously it makes a lot more sense and could be a quicker turnaround if it's another restaurant, but if someone comes in for a development for that site, we're not opposed to demolition and reconstructing something. We own a 200-car parking deck right next door. It's a huge asset right next door to lure a potential user for the building and development if that's the case at that point."

"It's a shame," Stephens said of Rosewood's impending closing. "Jim's got a great product, but I understand he's tired.

"I definitely believe a restaurant could be successful there as Rosewood has."

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