Buddy Valastro, TV's 'Cake Boss,' bringing restaurant to Rosemont

Buddy Valastro, the reality TV star known as the “Cake Boss,” is bringing his Italian restaurant and bake shop to a proposed mixed-use development in Rosemont.

The 8,500-square-foot Buddy V's Ristorante was announced Wednesday as the first tenant of the 16-acre development to be called The Pearl and located south of Balmoral Avenue and west of the Tri-State Tollway.

The village board Wednesday approved a redevelopment agreement that gives village-owned vacant land at no cost to Braden Real Estate, a Chicago-based development firm that will lease a still-to-be-built building to Valastro and his investors. The board also approved a deal with Deerfield-based Janko Group, which plans to develop a boutique hotel next to Valastro's restaurant.

By the time the entire property is developed, there could be another two or three restaurants, retailers, and 100,000 square feet of office space. Officials plan to host international and ethnic street festivals there.

An agreement providing land for a 50,000-square-foot office building headquarters could be voted on by the board in September, with similar agreements expected at board meetings in future months, said Mayor Brad Stephens.

Village officials have been eyeing the space for redevelopment for at least six years, when they began buying and demolishing former light industrial buildings. About 10 such buildings have come down in that time. The village plans to recover its costs from increased tax revenues once the land is developed.

Rosemont bought up all the buildings within village limits, while the two remaining blocks to the south are within Chicago and Schiller Park.

The mixed-use development will be located across the tollway from the Fashion Outlets of Chicago mall, which opened in 2013 and could expand in the future.

The location is also just blocks from the east side of O'Hare International Airport — a reason hotel developer Gary Janko told Stephens the land is probably the most desirable hotel pad in the Midwest.

Janko's hotel, which is still under conceptual development with The Gettys Group hotel design consultants, would become the closest hotel to the airport after the Hilton Chicago O'Hare.

The hotel could have anywhere from 125 to 150 rooms, and it could gain a national brand flag or remain independent, Stephens said.

Construction is expected to begin next spring and be complete a year later.

Valastro's restaurant would become only the third one nationwide, after the opening of the first at The Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in 2013, with the second coming soon to The Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The restaurant features recipes passed down from Valastro's mother, grandmother and aunts such as Sunday Gravy, Steak Pizzaiola and linguine and clams with lobster. Its bakery sells items popularized by Carlo's Bakery, the New Jersey bake shop owned by Valastro and popularized on his TLC reality show.

Stephens, who met with Valastro, said the food was “phenomenal.”

Valastro is consulting with restaurateurs Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla on the creative and operations side of the restaurant, and with John Racanelli and Vincent Celano on its design and development.

Construction is expected to begin by spring and be complete by the fall of 2016.

As for the rest of the mixed-use development, relocation of Pearl Street west will begin soon. The village is moving the street closer to the Metra tracks to create a square space on which to build. There's already a streetlight in place at what will become the intersection of Pearl and Balmoral.

Rosemont's costs, which are also expected to include stormwater detention and utility relocation, could be between $4 million and $5 million — to be funded by revenues generated by the village's fourth tax increment financing district, Stephens said.

About five acres of village land will remain undeveloped for now but could be used for a future parking garage.

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An artist's rendering shows the inside of the proposed 8,500-square-foot Buddy V's Ristorante in Rosemont. Courtesy of Braden Real Estate
  Buddy Valastro, the reality TV star known as the "Cake Boss," is bringing his Italian restaurant and bake shop to vacant land near the Fashion Outlets of Chicago mall. Rosemont has acquired the property over about six years to pave the way for a mixed-use development including retail, a hotel and offices. Joe Lewnard/
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