New restaurants elevate Glen Ellyn's Main Street dining scene

 
 
Updated 9/1/2017 7:42 PM
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  • Blackberry Market is expanding into a neighboring storefront along Main Street in downtown Glen Ellyn.

      Blackberry Market is expanding into a neighboring storefront along Main Street in downtown Glen Ellyn. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Blackberry Market will gain 900 square feet of space by expanding into the former Riviera Jewelers store that closed with the retirement of its owners.

      Blackberry Market will gain 900 square feet of space by expanding into the former Riviera Jewelers store that closed with the retirement of its owners. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Two restaurants are expected to move into the former Soukup's hardware store at 419 N. Main St.

      Two restaurants are expected to move into the former Soukup's hardware store at 419 N. Main St. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

Over the past two years, a string of family-owned shops have shut their doors on a stretch of Main Street in downtown Glen Ellyn after decades in business.

At 81 years old, Soukup's Hardware, a fixture that closed in January, was the oldest in the bunch.

But in their place, developers are transforming that same stretch of Main Street storefronts into a restaurant row with plans for outdoor dining. And at least one existing restaurant is expanding its footprint.

"Restaurants are kind of a perfect fit," Village Manager Mark Franz said. "People want to dine in a downtown with character. We certainly have that to offer."

Here's a closer look at the new and expanding dining spots:

Nobel House

Where: Opening in about 3,300 square feet of the former Soukup's space at 419 Main St.

Signature menu items: Smoked meat platters with sauces and sides, fresh oysters, adult mac and cheese, rotating selection of craft beers.

History: Jason Levin and Dave Cilio co-founded the restaurant group, Bonehead Entertainment. They opened the original Nobel House along State Street in downtown Geneva in May 2014. The group also operates Merkles Bar and Grill outside Wrigley Field on Clark Street.

Building plans: Full bar and back patio.

Sushi Ukai

Where: Opening in the other half of the former Soukup's store.

Signature menu items: Makimono rolls, sashimi.

History: The downtown La Grange restaurant serves lunch and dinner patrons and offers takeout and delivery.

Blackberry Market

Where: The popular cafe and bakery will gain 900 square feet of space by expanding into the former Riviera Jewelers store at 409 N. Main St.

Husband-and-wife owners Janet and Greg Malopy closed the shop and retired after 35 years of designing custom jewelry.

Signature menu items: Cinnamon rolls with a generous spread of frosting, daily dinners-to-go, healthy salads, Intelligentsia coffee.

History: Anna and Bob Davidson opened Blackberry in December 2014, describing their restaurant as a gathering place at Main Street and Hillside Avenue, a southern gateway into the downtown.

And as such, the cafe hosts professionals working outside of the office, Beer and Hymns singalongs and other special events.

"They have been such a staple on that corner for us," Franz said.

Building plans: Renovations are in full swing at the vacant jewelry shop. The village board this week awarded a $15,000 grant toward updating the facade and another $15,000 toward renovating the interior.

The addition will allow Blackberry to expand seating, work spaces and its menu offerings.

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