After three-year wait, Big Ange's opening soon in Arlington Heights
Arlington Heights restaurant in former home of Jimmy's Place
After more than three years of work, owners say Big Ange's restaurant is only a few weeks away from opening in Arlington Heights -- really.
The new hot dog and sandwich restaurant located in the former home of Jimmy's Place at the corner of Northwest Highway and Euclid Avenue has been a long time coming, as residents and drivers have seen the building renovated over the past few years.
Different comical signs have promised an opening ever since the village board approved Big Ange's back in April 2013. Now it's finally happening.
"I get 20 calls a day about when we are opening. People are excited," said co-owner Rocco Fridono. "We are almost there, maybe two or three weeks away."
It took more than a year to close the deal on the restaurant, followed by two years of renovations and setbacks. The building has been gutted and brought up to code.
"Nothing about this place has been easy," Fridono said.
Rocco and his father, John, have been busy revamping the inside to give it a peppy, music-inspired decor. Decorated with blue, orange and green tables and chairs, Big Ange's is more than just a hot dog stand, Rocco said.
"It's happy. It's a fun place to be," he said.
Big Ange's pays tribute to local music roots with instruments hanging on the walls, posters of well-known area bands and paintings from artist and bluesman Bob "Bumblebee Bob" Novak, who died in 2015 but designed the restaurant's logo.
John and wife Angelina -- the namesake of Big Ange's -- are members of the suburban classic rock band Second Time Around.
Big Ange's will seat 38 inside and 20 more on an outdoor patio. The menu will include eight different flavors of Italian ice, homemade pastries, hot dogs, fresh-cut fries, Polish sausage, burgers and homemade tamales.
The restaurant will have a large smoker set up outside on Fridays and Saturdays to add BBQ dishes to the menu, John said.
Once the restaurant opens, the Fridonos said they have no doubt the place will be busy. The Inverness family already has received calls to host events and high school reunions from people who remember the spot as Jimmy's and are glad to see something open on that corner.
"You can't get a better location than this," Rocco said.
Though it has been a long wait for opening day, John and Rocco said it will be worth it.
"We would have liked to have been open six months ago," Rocco said.
"Try two years ago," John joked. "But we're real close. People are so excited now, so we don't want to make any mistakes. We just want to make everybody happy."