Tinley McDonald’s closed for remodeling

McDonald’s at 171st and Harlem in Tinley Park is closed for remodeling. (Photo by Bob Bong)

The McDonald’s restaurant near 171st Street and Harlem Avenue in Tinley Park will be closed for remodeling for several weeks.

A sign at the restaurant said it would close at midnight Sunday, April 1, and be closed for between 12 and 16 weeks.

A manager said the remodeling would include new equipment and the installation of a double drive-through lane.

Mickey D fans were urged to use the location at 159th Street and Harlem Avenue.

McAlister’s Deli opens in Orland Park

McAlister’s Deli is now open at 143rd Street and LaGrange Road in Orland Park. (Photo by Bob Bong)

 

McAlister’s Deli has opened its first south suburban location in Orland Park’s new Gateway Plaza at 143rd Street and LaGrange Road.

The restaurant opened Monday at 14309 S. LaGrange Road.

Orland is the second location for a McAlister’s Deli operated by The Hari Group, a franchise development company based in Naperville. The first one is in Naperville.

A third McAlister’s Deli location is planned for U.S. 30 and Wolf Road in Mokena.

“We’re very excited to be opening in Orland Park,” said Ravi Patel, one of the co-owners. “It’s a great location.”

Patel said McAlister’s has a large variety of sandwiches, salads and soups. It also has a menu item called Spuds, which is a large baked potato that can topped with a variety of items from black olives and jalapenos to grilled chicken and black angus roast beef.

McAlister’s is also famous for its iced tea, which can be regular or sweet or a combination. You can also get it mixed with lemonade.

Patel said McAlister’s will offer dine-in, carryout and catering.
“Eventually, we will have outdoor seating,” he said.

Patel said hiring is still underway for the Orland location, which will employ 50-60 when it opens.

The company started in 1989 in an old service station that had been turned into a 1950’s diner by a film crew. It now has more than 400 locations in 28 states.

There are 18 restaurants in Illinois and two in northwest Indiana in Schererville and Merrillville.

The 10,500-square-foot Gateway Plaza was developed on the former site of Steagerman’s Union 76 gas station and is kitty-corner from the University of Chicago Medical Center. A Visionworks optical shop is already open at the site. A City Barbecue restaurant is scheduled to open in the same development later this month.

Miller’s Ale House now open in Orland Park

Miller’s Ale House held its ribbon cutting and grand opening Monday in Orland Park. (Photo courtesy of Orland Area Chamber of Commerce)

Florida-based Miller’s Ale House opened Monday at 15630 S. LaGrange Road in Orland Park.

The chain bills itself as a restaurant and sports bar. The menu features boneless chicken zingers and sauces, steaks, pasta, salads, sandwiches, desserts and appetizers. The full-service bar features specialty cocktails, wine and more than 75 selections of local craft, seasonal and domestic beers.

It’s the second south suburban location for the chain, which also operates a location in an outlot at Chicago Ridge Mall in Chicago Ridge. There are seven in Illinois.

The chain now has 83 locations in 12 states and plans to open eight to 10 new spots each year.

Hours in Orland Park are 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday to Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to midnight on Sundays.

For information, call 708-292-0335.

Miller’s is next to Chuy’s Tex-Mex, which opened Tuesday. Both businesses are on the former site of an Army Nike missile base.

Full Closure of 159th Street at Cicero Avenue

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced

that 159th Street (U.S. 6) will be fully closed between Oak Avenue and Cicero Avenue (Illinois 50), in Oak Forest, beginning, weather permitting, Monday, April 2. The closure is necessary to replace the culvert that carries 159th Street over Midlothian Creek.

Starting April 2, 159th Street will be fully closed at Cicero Avenue until June 2018. A posted detour will direct eastbound 159th Street traffic to go south on Harlem Avenue (Illinois 43), east on 167th Street and north on Cicero Avenue to meet back with 159th Street. Westbound 159th Street traffic should take the reverse route.

The scope of the project includes replacement of the structures that carry 159th Street and Cicero Avenue over Midlothian Creek. The project also consists of intersection improvements, including channelization, traffic signal modernization and drainage work.

The overall project will be completed in Fall 2018.

Motorists can expect delays and should allow extra time for trips through this area. Drivers are urged to pay close attention to flaggers and signs in the work zones, obey the posted speed limits and be on the alert for workers and equipment.

Updates on the impacts to traffic are available at www.travelmidwest.com

 

Toys R Us begins liquidation sales

The Toys R Us store in Burbank is among those holding liquidation sales as the company prepares to close or sell all of its holdings in the United States and Canada. (Photo by Bob Bong)

New Jersey-based toy retailer Toys R Us announced last week that it would begin liquidation sales as it prepares to close or sell all of its stores in the United States and Canada after bankruptcy reorganization efforts collapsed.

Shoppers looking for great bargains beware, liquidation sales start slowly. Discounts now are only from 10-20 percent. Customers report rewards points are not being accepted.

The company said gift cards would be honored only until April 15.

Locally, the retailer operates toy and baby stores in Burbank, Orland Park and Joliet. A toy store in Matteson has been holding its liquidation sale for several weeks.

Toys R Us will close all of the stores by June, but they may close earlier if they sell off all remaining inventory.

Workers will not receive any severance pay, the company said in a letter sent to employees.

Toys R Us has been operating under bankruptcy protection since September.

Chuy’s Tex-Mex to open next week in Orland Park

Texas-based Chuy’s, a restaurant that features Tex-Mex fare, is scheduled to open its first south suburban location next week in Orland Park.

Chuy’s is expected to open at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 27,  at 15610 S. LaGrange Road, in the development at the former Army 

Nike missile base site. Other locations are in Schaumburg and Warrenville.

The first 50 people in line when doors open at 11 a.m. will be awarded a year’s worth of “Free Chuy’s for Two” gift certificates, redeemable at the Orland Park location. The complimentary dinner includes 12 “dinner for two” certificates, redeemable each month from March 27, 2018, through March 27, 2019. The free dinner features an appetizer plate, two entrees and a dessert.

“Our third Chicagoland restaurant opening is cause for great celebration, so we decided to do something fun to thank the community for welcoming us with open arms,” Jose Salazar, local owner/operator of Chuy’s Orland Park, said in a release. “We hope to be a favorite Tex-Mex destination in Orland Park and throughout Chicagoland for a long time to come.”

Chuy’s Orland Park will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday. On weekdays, the restaurant will also feature happy hour drink specials and its Fully-Loaded Nacho Car from 4-7 p.m.

Chuy’s was founded in 1982 in Austin, Texas. The chain offers family recipes from south Texas, New Mexico and Mexican border towns with options including homemade tortillas, fresh guacamole, hand-pulled roasted chicken, margaritas with fresh-squeezed lime juice, and 10 handcrafted signature sauces.

The Orland restaurant will be the chain’s 93rd location.

For more information, visit www.chuy’s.com or check out Chuy’s Orland Park on Facebook.

Bertucci’s closed again in Palos Hills, but not for long

Bertucci’s, which reopened as Bertucci’s Mediterranean Taverna in December 2016 after being closed for several months, closed again a few weeks ago.

All traces of the restaurant at 10331 S. Roberts Road in Palos Hills were scrubbed from social media over the weekend. Its Facebook page was taken down, the Facebook page of former manager Paul Kousis disappeared, former owner Klaudia Szulkowska deleted all references to Bertucci’s from her Facebook page and the website has been taken down.

The restaurant added Greek dishes to its menu when it reopened under the new name.

The business had been listed as a turn-key restaurant for sale for $399,000 on March 5 on the Coldwell Banker Commercial property website.

On Monday, Coldwell’s agent for the property Nick DiBrizzi said the restaurant was under contract to sell. He didn’t know when the sale would close.

“The new owners are experienced in running a restaurant,” he said without naming any names.

The building was extensively remodeled before it reopened.
When it reopened, Kousis said it had new floors, some new décor and a gaming room.

Bertucci’s also was popular for its fenced in outdoor patio.
The sale includes the real estate, the 2,000-square-foot restaurant and all fixtures, equipment and furniture.

If you own a new business you want to see featured in a future column, drop me a line at bobbong@hotmail.com

Smallcakes to open in Orland Park

Matt Hackney will open Smallcakes Cupcakery & Creamery on Saturday, March 25 in Orland Park.

Another specialty baker is coming this week to Orland Park when Smallcakes Cupcakery & Creamery holds its soft opening on Saturday in the Orland Park Crossing shopping center.

For owner Matt Hackney, making the move after 10 years as a commercial banker to cupcake baker was not as hard as it might seem.

“I always wanted to open my own business,” he said. “I gained a lot of experience helping others and about a year ago I started looking for the right business.

“I like to cook and bake recreationally, so a cupcake shop wasn’t that big a reach.”

Smallcakes starts with what Hackney calls “jumbo-sized premium cupcakes” fresh-baked daily in about 15 flavors every day along with specialty flavors that change daily. “They are very high-quality cupcakes.”

In addition, the shop will have ice cream, ice cream infused cupcake, minicakes and Italian-style hot chocolate. There will even be pupcakes so the family dog can get a treat.

Coffee will be added to the menu shortly, Hackney said. Customers can stay on top of changes and cupcake flavors at the shop’s Facebook page, Smallcakes: A Cupcakery & Creamery – Orland Park.

Hackney said every shop is run differently. “We have a lot of freedom in how we operate.”

His store at 14225 S. 95th Avenue will have tables for customers inside and weather-permitting outside.

Hackney will be the driving force at Smallcakes but he will get help from his wife and father-in-law and additional family members he can call on when needed.

“I hired four employees from outside the family,” he said.

The company was founded by Jeff Martin in 2008 with 10 flavors and now has more than 250 locations worldwide. There are eight stores open in Illinois with two coming. Orland shop will be the first in the south suburbs.

The Orland store will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Hackney said a grand opening will take place sometime in early April.

 

Ross opens in Homewood

Ross Dress for Less, the nation’s largest off-price apparel and home fashion chain with more than 1,100 stores, expanded its presence in the Chicago area with the grand opening Saturday, March 4, of three new stores in the southern suburbs.

New stores opened at 17910 S. Halsted St. in Homewood, at 1101 Fifth Avenue in North Hammond, Ind., and 1470 N. Larkin in Joliet. The retailer opened 20 new stores nationwide on March 4.

The new stores bring the total number of Ross Dress for Less locations to more than 40 in the Chicago area. The California-based chain only arrived in the area a few years ago with the opening of its first Illinois store in Orland Park.

Hours at the new stores are 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

RadioShack closing in Frankfort

RadioShack is closing its store in Frankfort. (Photo by Bob Bong)

Troubled electronics retailer RadioShack has been holding a store closing sale at its Frankfort location in the Frankfort Crossing plaza at U.S. 30 and LaGrange Road.

The Frankfort location is one of nine stores in Illinois being closed and the only one in the south suburbs. Other locations are in Willowbrook and LaGrange.

Liquidation sales at the stores are expected to be completed by March 28.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, its second such filing in two years. The company is looking to close at least a third of its remaining locations and possibly turn over some to Sprint.

As many as 365 locations could be transferred to Sprint, which operates stores inside some RadioShack stores, the company said in court filings. Among that second group are stores in Chicago’s McKinley Park neighborhoods.

RadioShack said it is still considering its options for the retailer’s remaining 1,000 stores.