Raffy’s opens second sweet shop in Frankfort’s Trolley Barn

Raffy’s has opened a second location in Frankfort’s Trolley Barn shopping center.

Raffy’s Candy Store, which opened in late 2015 on U.S. 30 in New Lenox, has opened a second location in the Trolley Barn shopping center in historic downtown Frankfort.

Dave Rafalski, who co-owns the sweet shop with his wife, Pam, said the new location opened May 30 at 21 White St.

“We had no intention to open a second location,” Rafalski said. “But we were encouraged by a lot of people to do so. Members of the chamber were eager for us to come into town.”

The new Raffy’s is pretty much a carbon copy of the New Lenox location, Rafalski said.

“The floor plan is a little different,” he said. “And there’s a nice patio at the new location.”

And except for the lack of soft-serve ice cream in Frankfort, the store features the same sweet treats as the New Lenox location.

There’s a wide selection of candy including premium chocolate, Albanese Gummy Bears from Indiana and what Rafalski calls nostalgic candy, popcorn and nuts. Frankfort also will have hard-packed ice cream by the original Plush Horse ice cream parlor in Palos Park.

Hours at the Frankfort location will be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Friday and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday.

First Midwest acquires Northern States

First Midwest Bancorp Inc., the parent of First Midwest Bank, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Northern States Financial Corp., the holding company for NorStates Bank, based in Waukegan.

NorStates Bank operates eight offices in Lake County and has approximately $500 million in total assets, $400 million in deposits, of which 90 percent are core deposits, and $320 million in loans.

“We are very excited to welcome NorStates Bank to First Midwest and build on the strong relationships that NorStates has with its customers,” Michael L. Scudder, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Midwest, said in a release. “This combination continues our expansion in the greater Chicagoland area and enhances our presence in Lake County where we have long-standing, deep roots.”

“We are extremely pleased to partner with First Midwest,” Scott M. Yelvington, President and Chief Executive Officer of Northern States, said. “Like First Midwest, we have a strong commitment to relationship banking, personalized customer service and involvement in the communities we serve. We greatly look forward to offering our customers the broader array of financial products and services that First Midwest provides.”

Based upon the closing price of First Midwest’s common stock on June 5, on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the overall transaction is valued at approximately $91 million. The acquisition is to close in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Ryerson to acquire Central Steel & Wire

Ryerson Holding Corp. announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Central Steel & Wire for $140 million.

Central Steel has its main plant and offices near 51st Street and Francisco in the Gage Park community.

The company was founded in 1909. It operates six plants, employs about 900 people and has annual sales of about $600 million. It produces bar, tube, plate and sheet products. Last year, it posted a $14 million loss.

Central Steel will continue under that brand name after the closing of the deal, which is expected to come in the third quarter this year.

Loop-based metal processor and distributor Ryerson is one of the 60 largest companies in the Chicago area, with $3.36 billion in revenue last year.

Central Steel CEO Steve Fuhrman said in a statement that “the leverage this merger creates will benefit our diverse customer base, grow our respected supplier relationships and provide opportunity for further development of our loyal employees.”

Eddie Lehner, Ryerson’s president and CEO, had nothing but praise for Central Steel.

“Since 1909, Central Steel & Wire has cultivated a loyal customer following as an industry standard bearer of customer service,” he said. “Ryerson’s acquisition of Central Steel & Wire into the Ryerson family of highly valued industrial metal distribution and processing companies takes Ryerson’s ability to provide great customer experiences to another level. We are excited to elevate the best of Central Steel & Wire while leveraging Ryerson’s intelligently networked service centers to infuse Central Steel & Wire’s and Ryerson’s customers with a broader and deeper array of products with comprehensive processing capabilities. By supporting and further developing the Central Steel & Wire brand in the marketplace to existing and new customers, Ryerson continues along a smart growth trajectory that we expect to add meaningfully to shareholder value in the years to come.”

Completion of the transaction has been approved by the board of directors of both companies and Central Steel & Wire shareholders signed a written consent approving the merger agreement and the transaction.

The decision to sell was an about face for Central Steel, which waged a fierce court fight three years ago for the right to reject a more lucrative offer from Canadian manufacturer and distributor Samuel Son & Co.

American Eagle has landed at Orland Square

American Eagle has completed the remodel of its Orland Square Mall store, which reopened late last month at the Orland Park mall. The store is located in the upper level Macy’s wing of the mall.

Marketing group holds grand opening

WDB Marketing, a one-stop marketing and promotions shop that offers graphic design, print services, web design, marketing and promotional strategies, held its grand opening June 8 at its new location at 1007 E. 162nd St. in South Holland.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. For information, call 708-527-3090. The website in www.wdbmarketing.com.

Ooh Wee Burger coming to River Oaks

Ooh Wee Sweet Tea and Ooh Wee Cereal and Candy Bar is expanding its presence at the River Oaks Center food court.

Ooh Wee Burger Bar and Grill is coming this summer to the mall in Calumet City.

If you see a new business in town or wonder what happened to an old favorite, drop me a line at bobbong@hotmail.com. You can track business openings and closings at http://bobbongonbusiness.com/

Rock ’n’ roll restaurant backed by KISS stars coming to Oak Lawn

KISS frontmen Gene Simmons (left) and Paul Stanley are official spokesmen for Rock & Brews, which has signed to open a new establishment in Oak Lawn. Supplied photo

Two new restaurants, including one co-owned by KISS stars Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, will highlight the beginning of phase two of the Stony Creek Promenade development in Oak Lawn.

Rock & Brews is a California-based restaurant chain born out of a post-concert conversation among Simmons, Stanley, concert tour manager Dave Furano, his brother, merchandising pioneer Dell Furano and restaurateur Michael Zislis.

The first one opened in El Segundo, Calif., in 2012. There are now more than 20 in eight states and Mexico.

The Oak Lawn location will be the first one in Illinois of a planned 15-20 locations.

Rock & Brews features American comfort food and craft beers.

Also coming to Oak Lawn will be the Barrel Club, a locally owned upscale restaurant, which says it will feature some of the highest quality steaks and prime rib in the area paired with a house-distilled whiskey.

Both restaurants are expected to open in 2019.

Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury announced the news on Facebook and said the news had gone viral.

“My post just blew up on social media,” Bury said. “It had hundreds of views and shares.”

“Residents asked for upscale, fine dining and that what’s we’re trying to give them,” she said. “Everything is coming up roses at 111th and Cicero. “Please welcome them to Oak Lawn.

“The village has a great partnership with Hamilton Partners, developers of the Promenade, and this is just the beginning of phase two.”

Bury said there will also be a retail component in phase two. “I’m just not ready to make any announcements about retail,” she said.

Bury also revealed that Mariano’s supermarket, which was part of the first phase of the Stony Creek Promenade, will be adding a fuel station to its footprint at the Promenade.

“That location is consistently one of Mariano’s top locations,” she said. “It’s often the No. 1 location in the Chicago area.”

Cops to hit Dunkin’ Donuts rooftops Friday morning for Special Olympics

Local police officers will be prowling Dunkin’ Donut rooftops Friday morning.

But instead of being on the lookout for bad guys, these coppers will be raising money for Special Olympics Illinois.

For the 16th year in a row, police will be atop almost 300 Dunkin’ Donut shops including locations in Alsip, Bridgeview, Brookfield, Burbank, Calumet City, Calumet Park, Chicago Heights, Country Club Hills, Crestwood, Countryside, East Hazel Crest, Forest View, Frankfort, Harvey, Hodgkins, Hickory Hills, Homewood, Matteson, Midlothian, Mokena, McCook, Lansing, Lemont, Lockport, Oak Lawn, Palos Heights and Palos Park on Friday from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Officers hope to top last year’s donation total of more than $700,000 from 272 rooftops as they go to new heights to raise awareness and donations for the Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

In return for the police officers doing time at their stores, Dunkin’ Donuts will donate $15,000 to the Torch Run fund.

Everyone who visits a Cop on a Rooftop store and makes a donation to the Torch Run will receive a free doughnut coupon. Individuals who donate at least $10 will receive a Law Enforcement Torch Run travel mug (while supplies last) and a coupon for a free medium coffee.

Other items, such as Torch Run T-shirts and hats, will be sold for various donation amounts, and other activities will vary by Dunkin’ Donuts location.

Dunkin’ Donuts also has created a special glazed red and white donut ring depicting Special Olympics Illinois colors. The donut, called “The Champion,” will be available at Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Chicago and suburbs May 18.

Detective Robbie Peterson of the West Chicago Police Department says “Cop on a Rooftop is important because it puts the athletes of Special Olympics in the forefront that day across the state of Illinois and gives us, law enforcement officers, an opportunity to interact with our community in a positive manner. My involvement with Special Olympics is truly an honor and another chance to uphold the oath I took when I was hired….to protect and serve.”

Special Olympics Athlete Becky Cavanagh of Clarendon Hills adds,” Eating donuts is my favorite part of Cop on a Rooftop. Then I like talking to Detective Robbie and all the nice people who donate.”

A list of all participating locations is at www.soill.org.

 

 

Joey’s Red Hots to open Monday in Morgan Park

Good news for Southwest Side fans of Joey’s Red Hots, a popular hot dog stand in Orland Park.

The eatery will open its second location next week in Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood.

Joey’s will open Monday, May 7, at 11500 S. Western Ave. in the former Snappers Fish location across the street from the Morgan Park Sports Center.

The new location will feature the same menu as Orland Park, which includes Vienna hot dogs, burgers, other sandwiches and salads.

The new location will have outdoor seating on picnic tables, as well as offer catering, delivery and even a food truck.

The restaurant’s first location has been open for more than three years at 17400 S. Wolf Road in Orland Park.

Hours will be 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, from 10:30 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

A message to owner Anthony Nardo was not returned.

Remodeled ALDI to open Thursday in Orland Hills

On Thursday, ALDI will celebrate the reopening of its newly remodeled store in Orland Hills.

The store at 9271 W. 159th St. will reopen with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:25 a.m. Thursday, May 3. The first 100 customers in line will each receive a free gift card.

There will also be a sweepstakes for a year’s supply of produce and product sampling.

The new store is one of more than 1,300 nationwide scheduled to be remodeled and expanded by 2020 as part of a $1.6 billion plan. The company said it would invest more than $180 million to improve more than 130 stores in the Chicago area.

Stores already remodeled or expanded include locations in Tinley Park, which reopened in a bigger location in November, and locations in Bridgeview and Chicago’s Garfield Ridge community, which opened in December.

The new store will feature fresh food, produce, dairy and baked goods.

Hours for the store will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

“Our remodeled store layout will simplify the shopping experience for customers, so they can get out the door with everything they need,” said Heather Moore, Dwight division vice president for ALDI. “We’re excited to unveil these changes in a great market like Orland Hills, where we already have passionate, loyal customers.”

Remodeled stores also feature a modern design, open ceilings, natural lighting and environmentally-friendly building materials – such as recycled materials, energy-saving refrigeration and LED lighting.

Moore said the ALDI location in Orland Park is also scheduled to be remodeled this year.

City Barbecue to open Monday in Orland Park

In Orland Park, a new barbecue joint called City Barbecue will open Monday and will hold its rib bone cutting grand opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 28, at 14301 S. LaGrange Road.

It’s the second location in the Chicago area and its 36th location across the country. The first area location opened in October in Berwyn and four additional Chicago area sites are scheduled to open this year in Downers Grove, Deerfield, Park Ridge and Vernon Hills. All restaurants are company-owned.

The Orland Park location will be 4,000 square feet of ‘BBQ-chic’ décor utilizing modern fixtures with weathered barn wood surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, according to a release. Indoor seating will allow for approximately 90 people, and the outdoor patio will seat another 40. Three state-of-the-art smokers will run 24 hours a day, seven days week to ensure an endless supply of delicious barbeque.

“Aside from offering competition quality barbeque and backyard hospitality, one of our core values is to serve our community,” Clint Umphrey, Market Leader from City Barbeque, said in the release. “We at City Barbeque are committed to partnering with local charities and food rescues to support our friends and neighbors and give back to those we serve.”

The Orland Park location a partner with All God’s People, a local ministry serving the homeless of Chicago, to donate surplus food from the restaurant to feed those in need. City Barbeque also is committed to hosting weekly fundraisers and has partnered with a different local charity every day of their opening week in Orland Park. Each organization will receive 25 percent of the sales when a guest mentions the organization upon placing an order.

Regular hours are 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

The Ohio-based company opened its first location in 1999.

Aunt Sally’s, Bohemian Joe’s to close this weekend

Aunt Sally’s will close next Sunday at its longtime home in Calumet City. (Photo by Bob Bong)

Aunt Sally’s restaurant at 1215 Burnham Ave. in Calumet City will close at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 29, bringing the end to the Sidkey family’s 71-year relationship with local residents.

The Sidkey family opened a small grocery store at that location in 1947. It lasted until a fire in the early 1970s. The family then opened a full-service restaurant called Puffins. A few years later they converted it into a breakfast-lunch restaurant called Aunt Sally’s.

It will be open as usual for the rest of this week.

In neighboring Lansing, Bohemian Joe’s will close at 17940 S. Torrence Ave. the end of the day on Saturday, April 28.

The 6,200-square-foot restaurant was opened in January 2016 in the former Popolano’s restaurant by the Paliga family. It was put up for sale last year and has been sold.

No word on who the buyer is or what the future will bring.

Also, in Lansing, the Golden Crown restaurant was closed suddenly without warning at 17904 S. Torrence Ave. A note on the door from the owner said he was retiring.

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.