6 shops closed but 5 new opening in downtown Naperville
A new Japanese restaurant is getting established after the pandemic shutdown. A record store wasn't really deterred in its relocation.
A shake bar is coming soon. A coffee and tea shop awaits the completion of a new development. And, a sports bar just got a demolition permit to begin renovations.
All of this in a downtown that also has seen six shop closings during the pandemic, one night of damage when a protest turned destructive, several businesses vandalized or looted and many more papered with colorful hearts and inspiring messages.
Closed since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March are Vom Fass, MidiCi Neapolitan Pizza, A-1 Antiques, Hanna Andersson, Edie Boutique and Sushi House, said Katie Wood, executive director of the Downtown Naperville Alliance.
Recently opened are Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ at 47 E. Chicago Ave. suite 108, which wasn't in business long before Gov. J.B. Pritzker required restaurants to close in March; and Purple Dog Records, which opened Tuesday at 231 S. Washington St., suite 105, after moving from a space on Center Street near the Naperville Metra station.
Purple Dog opened in 2014 under the father-daughter-son ownership of Joel Sicker and his children Erin Gavin and Colin Sicker, but the shop closed at its original location March 15 because the building was sold. The family took until May to find a new spot in town, accessible from a downtown alley just north of Jackson Avenue, then got help moving from longtime customers and began buying and selling vinyl again this week.
"We've got a lot more visibility," Sicker said of the new location. "We just put our sign out there and people just see it and walk on in."
Coming soon to the downtown are Nutrition Hub, a shake and tea shop, at 26 W. Jefferson Ave., which could open at the end of July; and Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea, in the Central Park Place development at 110 S. Washington St., on the site of the old Nichols Library. It is targeting a Labor Day launch.
Nutrition Hub owner Sam Suleiman said he is excited to expand into Naperville with the business he's been running for the past three years in Frankfort, Mokena and New Lenox. Nutrition Hub sells teas and coffee, as well as shakes and smoothie bowls that provide a high-protein meal with low sugar, calories and carbohydrates.
"The bad stuff is very low and the good stuff is very high," Suleiman said.
In the works for the future is Heizmans, a sports bar to be run by the same ownership family behind Empire Burgers & Brew in downtown Naperville and Ballydoyle in Downers Grove and Aurora.
Owner Phil Cullen said his son, Will Cullen, is taking the lead to develop Heizmans after working his was up the hierarchy at the family's other restaurants. The COVID-19 situation is delaying plans, Cullen said, but demolition on the bar's future space at 218 S. Washington St. has begun to turn it from the former Board & Barrel deli into a sports bar named to allude to football's Heisman Trophy.
The Downtown Naperville Alliance maintains a list on its website of business reopenings, new hours and COVID-19-related changes. For details, visit https://downtownnaperville.com/come-on-in-we-are-open/.