Batavia's River Street remodel progressing well

Updated 6/22/2013 5:30 PM
  • The new entrance arch to North River Street in Batavia.

      The new entrance arch to North River Street in Batavia. Rick West | Staff Photographer

Residents, merchants and aldermen have gone through a fair amount of hand-wringing regarding the facelift along North River Street and the current work taking place along Wilson Street in downtown Batavia.

A quick visit to the farmers market on River Street last weekend confirmed something for me: The city has made terrific progress reinventing that part of the downtown.

It's certainly a nice setting for the farmers market. But more importantly, the entrance arch is unique and makes a statement that this strip of downtown is a place to see. Sorry, detractors. I like that arch.

We've heard nothing but rave reviews about O'Sole Mio, located in the spot that once housed the offices of former speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. This gelato/café/bar is beautiful inside and quickly becoming the type of place that gives River Street the image city officials were seeking.

If St. Charles city officials are thinking about converting empty storefronts near the Arcada Theatre into something that would coexist with the theater, they should take a peek at O'Sole Mio.

With Pal Joey's, El Taco Grande and the Tusk Thai restaurant solidly in place along River Street, it's looking more like a can't-miss proposition to link River Street with the Riverwalk setting and concept.

Burritos rule: It's been open at 8 N. Island Ave. in Batavia for more than a month, and it appears Taqueria El Sazon made a good move taking over the retail location that Pizza Hut left a few months ago. Lunch and dinner business at this Mexican restaurant has been brisk for owners Esteban and Garbriella Gomez.

Stays with furniture: It didn't take long for Kathleen Newhouse to surface in another Tri-Cities furniture store.

Newhouse, who closed her Park Place Interiors store at Dodson Place in Geneva several months ago, now will be sales manager for a new Art Van Furniture store scheduled to open this September in Batavia.

Art Van will set up shop in the former Wickes Furniture location at McKee Street off Randall Road.

"I'm very excited about what Art Van brings to Chicago and know that they have a wonderful reputation," Newhouse said of the company that is well-known in Michigan.

"My efforts to embrace the community and make a difference are still in the forefront of my mind," Newhouse added. "I feel that Art Van will do that and more."

A real egghead: Michele Martzel was happy to see an item in this column a couple of weeks ago about the "Mr. Eggwards" sculpture that sits on a brick wall at Mount St. Mary Park in St. Charles.

As Batavia Public Library promotional services manager, Martzel is familiar with the work of sculptor Kimber Fiebiger of Minneapolis.

That's because the library has had her "Mr. Egghead" on display more than nine years.

"'Egghead' is reading a book, naturally," Martzel says of the sculpture funded by the Friends of the Batavia Library, students from Batavia Nursery School and an in-library fundraising project called "Put Humpty Back on the Wall."

"Egghead" has pretty much done it all with his attire to honor holidays or sports teams atop his perch on the library grounds. Of course, he has donned Chicago Blackhawks gear.

"We're looking for Cubs apparel, but only a few employees have Cubs hats," Martz says.

By my estimation, It will probably be at least a few more years before the Cubs deserve to be part of "Egghead's" attire.

Dixon in town: Though I haven't run into him yet, I know St. Charles architect Mike Dixon is in town this month, taking a break from his two-year stint with the Peace Corps in Ukraine.

He's been spotted at Arcedium Coffeehouse and the Blue Goose Supermarket among other spots downtown.

He leaves next month to complete another year in Ukraine, as he signed on for an extended tour of duty with the Peace Corps.

Woody team spirit: You can find Blackhawks logos and signs of encouragement all over the place during the Stanley Cup Finals, but this is a little different. We spotted "Go Hawks" written in letters about 5 feet tall on a pile of wood stacked on a flatbed truck.Couldn't tell which wood delivery business owns the truck. The Hawks' shout-out caught all of our attention.

Sweet and helpful treat: The waffle cone filled with two scoops of chocolate chip and cookie dough ice cream from Kimmer's Ice Cream in St. Charles was the perfect Father's Day treat last weekend.

But it had a little more importance than just putting me on a sweets-driven cloud nine. A portion of the proceeds from June sales at the popular ice cream shop goes to CASA Kane County's child advocacy program.

The Court Appointed Special Advocates also get a little boost from Moveable Feast and State Street Jewelers in Geneva this month as part of the organization's "Partnerships with a Purpose."

State Street Jewelers has helped CASA in the past by donating jewelry to the organization's dinner-and-auction fundraiser in March.

Any other businesses interested in learning more about CASA partnerships can call development director Lori Hewitt at (630) 444-3107.

Time to make the ... : Doughnuts, of course. And these will be only 25 cents in honor of what doughnuts used to cost more than 20 years ago.

Dunkin' Donuts in St. Charles is having a grand reopening at 10 a.m. Friday at the 1711 W. Main St. location to celebrate more than 20 years of business. In addition, the store will have country music station US 99.5 on site from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday for a Toby Keith ticket giveaway.

Best parade: Is there any doubt Geneva's Swedish Days parade is the year's best? Maybe for miles around? See you out there Sunday.


Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.