New restaurants, outdoor store coming to downtown Naperville
The face of Naperville's downtown business district will continue to change in coming months with the opening of a healthy takeout restaurant, a bagel shop, a pub and an outdoor recreation store.
The new businesses are arriving at a busy time in downtown, said Katie Wood, executive director of the Downtown Naperville Alliance. Several new shops opened last fall in the Main Street Promenade East and ground was broken this spring on the Water Street District that's scheduled to open in fall 2016 with a hotel, restaurants and shops near city hall.
"The focus, of course, is on Water Street. We're off-the-charts excited about that," Wood said about the $93 million hospitality destination south of the DuPage River where construction began last month. "But that's not where it ends."
The new shops include Snap Kitchen, Halsted Street Deli & Bagel, Empire by Ballydoyle and Erehwon Mountain Outfitter.
Here's a quick look:
• Snap Kitchen, a healthy takeout eatery based in Austin, Texas, is renovating a store in the River Square shopping center at Chicago Avenue and Washington Street as part of the chain's expansion to Chicago and the suburbs.
An opening date has not been set for the Naperville location, but it will join three Snap Kitchens expected to open this spring in Chicago. The restaurant will offer freshly made breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack items that cater to gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, dairy-free, carbohydrate-conscious and sodium-conscious diets.
"Snap Kitchen will certainly be a great new addition because that does offer a concept that isn't currently served," Wood said. "It's fast, healthy casual."
• Halsted Street Deli & Bagel will be one of the downtown's next food offerings when it opens on Washington Street next to Naperville General Store. The deli will take the place of a short-lived frozen yogurt shop called B Happy Cafe at 206 S. Washington St.
• Empire by Ballydoyle pub has been under construction at 48 W. Chicago Ave. since last fall, and owner Phil Cullen said he keeps discovering more and more work is needed to make the combination of two 100-year-old buildings structurally sound.
When Cullen was given a late-night liquor permit, it was estimated the pub would open in December 2013. When he began interior construction last October, he hoped to have the new bar open by early this year, featuring "craft beer, craft burgers and live music."
This week, Cullen said contractors are taking out the dividing wall between the two segments of the building -- a three-story former hotel on the east and a two-story former factory on the west. A hole visible from Chicago Avenue will be filled with a large glass panel to make a two-story entrance and a contractor is installing steel beams to shore up the structure.
The bar now could be on track to open in July or August.
"It's starting to take shape," said Cullen, who also owns Ballydoyle Irish pubs in Aurora and Downers Grove. "It's getting there. It's just a lot slower than we had hoped. But we want to do it properly."
• Erehwon Mountain Outfitter, which gets its name from "nowhere" spelled backward, will fill a large, long-vacant space on Washington Street just north of Barnes & Noble.
Erehwon had a store in Naperville at Ogden Avenue and Naper Boulevard from 1986 to 1998, said Rudi Mayer, general manager and part owner. For about the past 10 years, Erehwon has been looking to re-establish a Naperville presence to serve the city's active outdoor enthusiasts -- this time in the downtown.
"Our problem in Naperville is we have not been able to find a store in the downtown area that's larger than 3,000 square feet. Typically, our stores are in the 10,000-square-foot range," Mayer said. "This was a good fit because it's large enough."
The 9,000-square-foot store is expected to open Sept. 1 with "all the top names in the outdoor business," Mayer said.
"Our staff really uses the gear and knows all about it," he said.
Also coming soon to downtown Naperville is a fleet of convertibles and coupes -- in Fiberglass sculpture form -- as summer decorations.
Wood said plans are in the works for a day of festivities surrounding the unveiling on Father's Day of 15 decorated car sculptures along Main, Washington and Water streets as well as Chicago, Jackson, Jefferson and Van Buren avenues.