A stagecoach-themed restaurant is the latest of the new restaurants expected to open in downtown Lockport later this year, across from the historic Roxy theater.
Local couple Joe and Sherie Gallas have purchased four buildings on the block with new restaurants coming to two of them.
Work has started, and both are slated to open sometime in June, Sherie said.
She said she and Joe had discussed opening an Old West-themed restaurant in historic downtown and were pleasantly surprised to learn one of the buildings they bought – 1020 S. State St. – was the original stagecoach stop for Archer Avenue.
There’s even a rumor Abraham Lincoln once stopped there, City Administrator Ben Benson said.
The restaurant will have a full kitchen and bar and serve a traditional menu of burgers, pastas and sandwiches along with an “On the Wild Side” menu to tie in the Old West theme. This will include items such as bison hotdogs, elk burgers and rabbit stew.
Joe – who owns Gallas Construction – also will help the city with preservation of the historic building, Mayor Steven Streit said at Wednesday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
“It’s very exciting about Joey and those three buildings,” Streit said. “They have been vacant for a long time, and it’s been problematic.”
Across the street, the Ottawa-based Tangled Roots Brewing Company is in the process of opening a new brewpub at 1025 S. State St.
With the spate of new restaurant bars opening in town, the committee was considering amendments to its liquor ordinance. One is to bring back the Class A-2 liquor license so patrons of Grapes and Hops would be able to bring home a partially-consumed bottle of wine.
The city also is considering creating a new Class M liquor license for events held on publicly-owned property. This comes after a request from HellsGate haunted house, located on Lockport Township Park District property, asking to serve alcohol at a planned largescale paintball tournament and other private events.
Some residents from the unincorporated Will County neighborhood located on High Road also expressed concerns about the proposed 515-unit development at the Big Run Golf Club.
About 10 residents were present at a public hearing at Wednesday night’s city council meeting on a pre-annexation agreement between the city and the owners of the Big Run Golf Club. The agreement was later approved.
The owners plan to close the golf club and have submitted a master plan for a mixed-residential development that would include single-family homes, townhomes, senior housing and open spaces.
The residents who spoke were concerned about the possible impact on traffic and the environment.
Raymond West said he was worried about “losing the quaint feeling of Lockport.” Ellen Rendulich was worried about what she considered a high-density development for the area.
City Attorney Sonni Williams assured residents the development would be completed in stages, and developers would need to go through all the city’s approval processes, including traffic and environmental impact studies.
Benson said the proposed development on the 220-acre property would have an average of about two units an acre, while other neighborhoods in the city, such as M/I Homes and Sagebrook have an average of about four to five units an acre.
“It’s not quite the urban sprawl that the residents think that it might be,” Benson said.
He also said the entrances and exits for the development would be on 135th Street and Smith Road, away from High Road, which is west of the property.