Sweet Caroline's Crab-N-Que opens Friday in Hoffman Estates
Schaumburg-based Ala Carte Entertainment is continuing to breathe new life into the once struggling restaurant campus at the southeast corner of Higgins and Barrington roads in Hoffman Estates.
On Friday, the company will open its newest concept -- Sweet Caroline's Crab-N-Que -- on the former site of a long-shuttered Lone Star steakhouse.
And in the late spring, Ala Carte will open a second location of its popular Chandler's Chophouse & Grille -- to be named Chandler's on Barrington -- in the former T.G.I. Friday's that closed earlier this year.
They will join the Ala Carte-owned Moretti's on the restaurant campus, along with Steak 'n Shake and Romano's Macaroni Grill.
Ala Carte Entertainment is well known for several restaurant concepts that also include Finn McCool's and The Snuggery, among others.
But owner and Vice President Mark Hoffman said he's particularly excited about the debut of Sweet Caroline's.
"Our goal and our promise to everyone is to make everything fresh every day," Hoffman said. "Nobody's doing what we're planning to do at Sweet Caroline's."
The menu will feature a combination of seasonal, market-fresh seafood and a signature barbecue featuring an 18-hour "low and slow" preparation.
Hoffman encouraged patrons to come early in the first days of the new restaurant to avoid facing the disappointment of certain items selling out.
The original concept for the building was to be a second location for the Whiskey River restaurant in Mount Prospect, which also would have featured barbecue.
"It's not going to be what it was going to be -- it's going to be better," Hoffman said.
He added that the equipment he bought for Sweet Caroline's is about the most expensive he's purchased for any of his restaurants.
Similar to the Neil Diamond song of the same name, the restaurant's slogan will be "Good Times Never Tasted So Good," Hoffman said. But the original inspiration for the concept was to serve food with a Carolina vibe, he added.
Though it will have a kids' menu, Sweet Caroline's generally will cater to a more adult palate than Moretti's next door, Hoffman said.
This won't be the first time the company has had restaurants next to each other. A Moretti's and Finn McCool's are neighbors on Algonquin Road in Schaumburg.
Sweet Caroline's will be open from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. most days, and 11:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
The new Chandler's location was almost a necessity for the company because the original at the Schaumburg Golf Club on Roselle Road began to see dates booked years in advance, Hoffman said.