Mio Modo or Moto iMoto? St. Charles restaurants have similar names, different concepts

  • The restaurant Moto iMoto, at 1 S. First St. in St. Charles, serves pan-Asian style cuisine.

    The restaurant Moto iMoto, at 1 S. First St. in St. Charles, serves pan-Asian style cuisine. Courtesy of Dave Heun

  • Mio Modo, soon to open at 200 S. Second St. in St. Charles, will offer pasta, pizza and other Italian dishes.

    Mio Modo, soon to open at 200 S. Second St. in St. Charles, will offer pasta, pizza and other Italian dishes. Courtesy of Dave Heun

  • Mio Modo, soon to open at 200 S. Second St. in St. Charles, will offer pasta, pizza and other Italian dishes.

    Mio Modo, soon to open at 200 S. Second St. in St. Charles, will offer pasta, pizza and other Italian dishes. Courtesy of Dave Heun

 
 
Posted8/5/2022 6:00 AM

The Scott Harris Hospitality Group was targeting this week to open the renovated and newly named Francesca's Mio Modo at 200 S. Second St. in St. Charles.

So, let the tongue-twisting begin.

 

Because Francesca's has always been one of our favorite restaurants in the area, we're glad to see it getting a nice facelift and a new surge of interest.

But longtime residents and visitors alike may find it hard to keep track of what's what in the restaurant world in that sector of the city.

It's a case of Mio Modo on Second Street and Moto iMoto at 181 S. First St. having similar names that could very easily get mixed up.

I can hear it now. "We'll meet you at Mio iMoto." Or, possibly, "We'll meet you at Moto Modo." And after twisting the names like that, you wouldn't know where you were supposed to meet anyone. Luckily, they are quite close to each other.

My wife contends people will continue to call the one restaurant Francesca's and the other "the old Wok' n Fire location" if there is any confusion.

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That would work, of course, but it might not be what Scott Harris Hospitality Group at Mio Modo or Brian Goewey and his BG Hospitality Group partners at Mio iMoto ideally had in mind.

It's also a little hard to decipher the script lettering on the front and back of the Mio Modo building because, from a distance, it looks like Mia mada, or maybe even Mia malada. But that's not really important. The paint job and lettering on the building look great, and the interior is likely to please as well.

Knowing what you are getting into when planning to visit either of these increasingly popular restaurants is of far more importance.

Mio Modo, soon to open at 200 S. Second St. in St. Charles, will offer pasta, pizza and other Italian dishes.
Mio Modo, soon to open at 200 S. Second St. in St. Charles, will offer pasta, pizza and other Italian dishes. - Courtesy of Dave Heun

Mio Modo will carry on the tradition of Italian food that made Francesca's by the River attract loyal customers. Moto iMoto is promoting itself as featuring California Pan-Asian fare. Its outdoor signage highlights "Asian kitchen" and "sushi" as the top selling points.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Patrons digging deep enough to keep track of restaurant owners and their chefs were likely a bit surprised when Goewey and his team steered away from Italian fare with Moto iMoto. After all, they operate the Gia Mia restaurants in St. Charles and Geneva, as well as Livia Italian Eatery in Geneva.

In fact, with a measuring tape, you might find that Moto iMoto is not more than a few hundred feet south of the Gia Mia in the First Street plaza in St. Charles.

Bottom line: These two places with similar names have great food, so don't let the tongue-twister throw you off.

Homes for beagles

When thousands of beagles were recently rescued from a breeding and research facility in Virginia, Anderson Humane in South Elgin was called in to help.

Of the 4,000 dogs rescued, the Anderson Humane animal rescue and shelter committed to finding new homes for 100 of these dogs in need.

The facility, at 1000 S. La Fox St. in South Elgin, is hoping area residents are willing to give these animals a good home and a new start in life. Those interested can learn more at ahconnects.org/beagles.

Chicken salad statement

When the salads in your restaurant carry female names like "Classic Carol" or "Fancy Nancy," it stands to reason the place would be called Chicken Salad Chick.

But Chicken Salad Chick also has an array of soup and sandwiches with traditional names -- and it's a franchise gaining momentum.

Touting it as the "nation's only chicken-salad concept" restaurant, owners Kim and Garrett Seaman plan on opening a Chicken Salad Chick in Batavia by the end of the year at the site of the former Crabby Boil restaurant at 220 N. Randall Road near Menards.

The Seamans are among various franchise owners of the Auburn, Alabama-based fast-casual restaurant chain that wants to open about 40 locations this year. With a corporate support center in Atlanta, the company has a goal of about 500 sites by the end of 2025. The company website says that the number is around 200 at this time.

Let me add this note: I love chicken salad sandwiches, so something tells me this concept could do well. At the very least, I suspect we'll see more of these Chicken Salad Chick restaurants throughout the region, in the Chicago suburbs and in other parts of the state over the next few years.

The way a cookie Krumm-bles

If he didn't know it before, at least John Krumm of St. Charles knows his wife Jennifer likes cookies. Really likes them, especially those coming out of a Crumbl Cookie store.

Jennifer was visiting family in Florida about a year ago, and her sister-in-law bought some cookies from a Crumbl Cookie. Jennifer tried the product and called John right away. One might say she very much liked what she was tasting.

"She called me and said we were opening a franchise," said John, the general manager at Yurs Funeral Home in St. Charles. This would be new turf for the Krumms, who never owned a franchise of any type in the past.

"We had never heard of Crumbl before then and found out there were actually two of them in Illinois at the time," John said.

The Krumms started researching franchise operations last November and found a spot in South Elgin in January that they liked as the place to open their own business.

The result is a grand opening Friday, Aug. 5, at their Crumbl Cookie franchise location at 315 Randall Road in South Elgin.

"We looked at many areas, but some locations that we wanted were already sold," John said. "After searching areas that were available, we felt like South Elgin was a great location to put a Crumbl."

There is no other cookie shop in that area, and the Krumms have already received a lot of positive feedback about their new bakery operation.

"The city of South Elgin has been incredible to work with, and we look forward to being part of this wonderful community," he added.

Lindon, Utah-based Crumbl Cookies has a few bakeries popping up across the region, with sites in Glendale Heights, Schaumburg and Naperville.

"It's the fastest growing cookie franchise," Krumm noted.

I don't need that incentive to try a new cookie shop. And the Krumms can expect to see me stop by soon.

Remembering Norris course

St. Charles resident Kenneth Huske sent along a note saying he appreciated the nostalgic story about the Norris estate golf course in St. Charles a couple of weeks ago.

As a kid, he always looked for a glimpse of golfers when his father drove the family over the wood bridge just south of the estate along Route 25.

"Although I did not play golf at that time in my life, I thought it must be neat to have your own golf course," Huske noted.

More importantly, he said he read a book years later that golf course architect Trent Jones Sr. wrote, and it included an excerpt about when Jones got a phone call from Lester Norris about building a course on land adjacent to the Fox River. He noted that Jones Sr. made the point that Norris wanted him to design nine holes on his private estate.

Jones admits to not realizing Norris's importance in the business world and the St. Charles community.

When he found out, he began work on what would become Pottawatomie Golf Course, which opened to the public on July 1, 1939, as one of the final Works Progress Administration projects during the Depression.

Jones did not mention in the book when he started or completed the nine-hole project on the private estate, Huske said.

But it is important to note that a significant golf course architect was also behind the Norris project.

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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