May 23, 2024

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Joliet Area’s Restaurant Openings And Closings For 2020

JOLIET, IL — It was a difficult year for many Joliet area restaurants in wake of the coronavirus pandemic. A number of long-time businesses closed in 2020. Some were national chains. Others were local family-owned indoor dining facilities that had several years of success.



a close up of a plate of food: A new Joliet restaurant in 2020, Taps Tips BBQ is a family-owned business venture by Michael Tapley, Ralph Tapley and Frederick Tapley.


© Image via John Ferak/Patch Editor
A new Joliet restaurant in 2020, Taps Tips BBQ is a family-owned business venture by Michael Tapley, Ralph Tapley and Frederick Tapley.

But 2020 wasn’t entirely bad for the local restaurant community.

A large number of new restaurants and grills opened new businesses amid the pandemic. During the past month alone, Joliet Patch has produced three separate stories about new restaurants opening on Joliet’s west side as well as in Crest Hill.

And by this time next month, a rapidly expanding Atlanta-based restaurant will be opening its long-awaited double-drive thru at the bulldozed property on Plainfield Road of Joliet’s former Lone Star Steakhouse: Chick-fil-A, of course.

Here’s a look back at the Joliet restaurants we’ve said goodbye to during 2020 and a look at several of the new restaurants we’re just getting to know, as 2020 draws to a close.

Joliet Area Goodbye List for 2020:

1. Arby’s, West Jefferson Street. In February, Joliet Patch reported that a tiny sign taped to one of the fast-food restaurant’s doors informed visitors that “this Arby’s is permanently closed. Thank you for allowing us to serve you!” So far, the former Arby’s remains vacant.



a sign on the side of a road: Joliet's West Jefferson Street closed before the coronavirus pandemic. Image via John Ferak/Patch


© Provided by Patch
Joliet’s West Jefferson Street closed before the coronavirus pandemic. Image via John Ferak/Patch

2. Truth Restaurant, at the corner of West Jefferson Street and Raynor Avenue. On Memorial Day, which was 10 weeks into into Gov. JB Pritzker’s coronavirus shutdown of all indoor bars and restaurants, the owners of Joliet’s Truth Restaurant, 808 W. Jefferson St., announced on Facebook they were closing for good. Truth had a 17-year run, after opening in 2003. The property remains for sale and the asking price is $450,000.



a sign on the side of a building: The property listing for Truth Restaurant has dropped in recent months to $449,000. Image via John Ferak/Patch


© Provided by Patch
The property listing for Truth Restaurant has dropped in recent months to $449,000. Image via John Ferak/Patch

3. Diamand’s Family Restaurant opened in 1989 and celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019, but there is no reason to believe Diamand’s will ever serve another meal in Joliet. Diamand’s closed in March following the governor’s indoor dining ban and never reopened. Joliet Patch broke the news in August that a downtown Chicago real estate company was retained to find a new tenant for the Diamand’s property, which is near the intersection of Interstate 55 and U.S. Route 30.



a sign on the side of a building: One of Joliet's longest operating family-run restaurants, Diamand's, is working to find a new tenant for its property. Image via John Ferak/Joliet Patch


© Provided by Patch
One of Joliet’s longest operating family-run restaurants, Diamand’s, is working to find a new tenant for its property. Image via John Ferak/Joliet Patch

4. Boston Market occupied the 1800 block of Joliet’s West Jefferson Street for decades, but six weeks into Governor Pritzker’s shutdown of indoor dining, the national restaurant franchise closed its Joliet location even though it had a drive-thru window. In August, Joliet Patch reported that the empty Boston Market is now for sale. Do you want to buy it? It’s still available.



a train is parked on the side of a building: The Joliet Boston Market building, built in 1994, comes with 34 parking spaces. Image via John Ferak/Patch


© Provided by Patch
The Joliet Boston Market building, built in 1994, comes with 34 parking spaces. Image via John Ferak/Patch

5. Bob Evans Restaurant at Larkin Avenue and McDonough Street. Closed in July, four months after the coronavirus pandemic hit Illinois. The property is still vacant as 2020 draws to a close.



a sign on the side of a road: Thousands of people ate at the Joliet Bob Evans over the years. Image via John Ferak/Patch


© Provided by Patch
Thousands of people ate at the Joliet Bob Evans over the years. Image via John Ferak/Patch

6. Church’s Chicken at 345 N. Collins St. closed in late September. The Church’s had been a mainstay on Joliet’s east side for years. It was also Joliet’s only Church’s restaurant.



a truck is parked in front of a store: The Church's Chicken restaurant chains has been


© Provided by Patch
The Church’s Chicken restaurant chains has been

7. Burger King, 3625 Rock Creek Road. Joliet’s far west side Burger King fast-food restaurant near the Joliet Junior College campus on Houbolt Road closed forever Dec. 14. News of the Joliet Burger King’s unexpected closure drew tens of thousands of Joliet Patch readers. One Patch reader commented, “That corner is worth a lot of money, BK corporate knows that and will wait for developers to call. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have one lined up already.”



a house that has a sign on the side of a road: Now that the Burger King near Houbolt Road has closed, people are urged to patronize the one at 108 N. Larkin Avenue in Joliet. Image via John Ferak/Patch


© Provided by Patch
Now that the Burger King near Houbolt Road has closed, people are urged to patronize the one at 108 N. Larkin Avenue in Joliet. Image via John Ferak/Patch

OK, now that we’ve covered the bad news of the Joliet restaurant closings, let’s turn to the positive news.

There have been several new restaurants and grills that have opened for business in 2020. Some of them opened right before the pandemic. Others decided the coronavirus was not going to stop them. They forged ahead and opened their new restaurant anyway.

Joliet Area Hello List for 2020:

1. Taps Tips BBQ Smokehouse, 3111 Theodore St. Opened in January in Joliet’s Duck Creek Plaza, the same strip mall as Brightdogs. As Patch reported in January, Taps Tips is a family-owned business venture by Michael Tapley, Ralph Tapley and Frederick Tapley. “We do all the sides fresh and homemade. It’s not fast food, it’s carryout,” Michael Tapley remarked.



a store front at day: In January, Taps Tips BBQ Smokehouse opened in Joliet. It's on Theodore Street in the Duck Creek Plaza near Brightdogs. Image via John Ferak/Patch


© Provided by Patch
In January, Taps Tips BBQ Smokehouse opened in Joliet. It’s on Theodore Street in the Duck Creek Plaza near Brightdogs. Image via John Ferak/Patch

2. Panera Bread drive-thru, 2400 West Jefferson St. It seems like 100 years ago, but the Panera Bread opened at the former Applebee’s restaurant in mid-February, a month before the coronavirus impacted Illinois’ restaurants. Panera Bread is one of the nation’s most popular quick-casual restaurant chains. It operates two other Panera Breads in Joliet, one in the Louis Joliet Mall and the other at Route 59 and Caton Farm Road.



a sign on the side of a snow covered car in a parking lot: In February, Panera Bread opened its newest location in Joliet, on West Jefferson Street, not far from the Walmart store. Image via John Ferak/Patch


© Provided by Patch
In February, Panera Bread opened its newest location in Joliet, on West Jefferson Street, not far from the Walmart store. Image via John Ferak/Patch

3. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, 441 East Cass St. In April, the new Popeyes opened for business on the east side of Joliet at at the former Checkers restaurant that closed in March 2019. Joliet also has a Popeyes restaurant on West Jefferson Street, and there’s a Popeyes on North Larkin Avenue in Crest Hill.



a sign on the side of a building: A district manager told Joliet Patch in April that Popeyes will provide free meals to all on-duty Joliet police officers. Image via John Ferak/Patch


© Provided by Patch
A district manager told Joliet Patch in April that Popeyes will provide free meals to all on-duty Joliet police officers. Image via John Ferak/Patch

4. Catfish & Chicken, a new fast-food restaurant at 2400 Caton Farm Road. It’s at the Caton Crest Commons in Crest Hill, which is near Plainfield Road. Catfish & Chicken is a takeout restaurant. There’s not a drive-thru window. You have to go inside to order, or you can call ahead. The two-piece catfish special for $10.99 is one of the most popular menu selections. Joliet Patch gave Catfish & Chicken a glowing restaurant review in July.



a car parked in front of a store: The Crest Hill restaurant that opened this year is only the third Catfish & Chicken in Illinois. Image via John Ferak/Joliet Patch


© Provided by Patch
The Crest Hill restaurant that opened this year is only the third Catfish & Chicken in Illinois. Image via John Ferak/Joliet Patch

5. Cheesecakes By James opened in late July at 81 North Chicago St. in downtown Joliet. James Sankey’s new storefront is directly across from the Rialto Square Theatre. Sankey is a Joliet-based baker who has a big following on social media. At the time of his grand opening, the Cheesecakes By James Facebook page had 5,947 followers and 5,806 Facebook likes. “This is going to be great, and I’m here to stay,” Sankey told Joliet Patch. “With all the support, we can’t go wrong. We just have to bake around the clock.”



a person holding a hot dog in a kitchen: Cheesecakes by James had its downtown Joliet grand opening in July because July 30 marks National Cheesecake Day. Image via John Ferak, Joliet Patch Editor


© Provided by Patch
Cheesecakes by James had its downtown Joliet grand opening in July because July 30 marks National Cheesecake Day. Image via John Ferak, Joliet Patch Editor

6. Fireman Ted’s Bar & Grill, 2771 Black Road, opened for just five hours in March, only to be forced to shutdown as a result of the new coronavirus pandemic. Three months later, Ted Peszynski, a recently retired firefighter for the Cicero Fire Department, was back at it, reopening in June. “We’re a local community neighborhood style bar. I’m trying for the adult crowd,” he said. Fireman Ted’s opened at the former location of Hammers Sports Bar and Grill.



a group of people standing around a table: Ted Peszynski, a recently retired firefighter for Cicero, has high hopes for success at his new Joliet bar and restaurant. Image via John Ferak/Patch


© Provided by Patch
Ted Peszynski, a recently retired firefighter for Cicero, has high hopes for success at his new Joliet bar and restaurant. Image via John Ferak/Patch

7. Forza Table & Tap. opened in August at the South Weber Road Plaza, replacing 12 Handles Ale House. It’s a modern Italian new American bar and restaurant. The restaurant and bar address is 1827 Knapp St. in Crest Hill.



a close up of a plate of food and a bottle on the counter: Forza features several burgers and homemade pizzas plus several craft beer products, domestics and imports. Image via John Ferak/Patch


© Provided by Patch
Forza features several burgers and homemade pizzas plus several craft beer products, domestics and imports. Image via John Ferak/Patch

8. El Primo is one of the popular Mexican restaurants in Joliet and this year, the owners made a couple drastic changes. They opened a new El Primo in downtown Joliet, at the site of the former Stefanich’s Restaurant & Lounge, 457 North Scott. St. A different restaurant will be opening in 2021 at the site of their former El Primo restaurant at the corner of Ruby and Hickory.



a car parked on the side of a building: In October, El Primo opened another restaurant in Joliet, this one at the former Stefanich's Restaurant & Lounge. Image via John Ferak/Patch


© Provided by Patch
In October, El Primo opened another restaurant in Joliet, this one at the former Stefanich’s Restaurant & Lounge. Image via John Ferak/Patch

9. Kafe De Kasa, 2446 Plainfield Road, Crest Hill. After opening in January in Joliet across from the ACE Drive-In, Kafe De Kasa moved a few miles up the road in November. The new Kafe De Kasa is in the red house near the O’Reilly Auto Parts store. Kafe De Kasa is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The move to Crest Hill provides Kafe De Kasa with more parking space.



a sign on the side of a building: Kafe De Kasa has regular coffee, espresso shots, lattes, iced lattes, macchiatos, hot chocolate, frappes, smoothies, mochas and more. Image via John Ferak/Patch


© Provided by Patch
Kafe De Kasa has regular coffee, espresso shots, lattes, iced lattes, macchiatos, hot chocolate, frappes, smoothies, mochas and more. Image via John Ferak/Patch

10. Taste of Jerusalem opened Aug. 28 along Route 30, just up the road from the Louis Joliet Mall. It’s in the same business plaza that has the Plainfield Moose Lodge. The menu features kabobs, beef and chicken shawermas, a Jerusalem steak sandwich, a Schnitzel sandwich plus combination and vegetarian plates as well as appetizers you won’t find at most Joliet and Plainfield restaurants.



a tray of food on a plate: The Taste of Jerusalem's marinated half chicken is cooked on a grill and served with your choice of rice and a Jerusalem salad. Image via John Ferak/Patch Editor


© Provided by Patch
The Taste of Jerusalem’s marinated half chicken is cooked on a grill and served with your choice of rice and a Jerusalem salad. Image via John Ferak/Patch Editor

11. Good Eats On The Go Tavern opened in Shorewood, filling the vacancy created when Casa Maya left for its new building at the Anderson’s Crossing on Route 59. Good Eats owner Javier Lomeli is best known for having a food truck that he operated in Channahon. At the time he opened, Lomeli said Good Eats On The Go was serving four types of tacos: steak, skirt steak, grilled chicken and Al pastor, which is a marinated pork taco.



a store in a brick building: Lockport resident Javier Lomeli has opened his Good Eats On The Go Tavern in Shorewood in September. Image via John Ferak/Patch


© Provided by Patch
Lockport resident Javier Lomeli has opened his Good Eats On The Go Tavern in Shorewood in September. Image via John Ferak/Patch

12. Red Crab Juicy Seafood restaurant, 2314 West Jefferson St. This month, the growing East Coast-based seafood chain opened its first location in Illinois, here on Joliet’s West Jefferson Street. The Joliet restaurant menu proclaims: “Juicy Never Tasted So Delicious!” The new restaurant is open for indoor dining and takeout orders.



a sign on the side of a building: The new Red Crab Juicy Seafood opened Friday in Joliet at 2314 West Jefferson Street. It's open for indoor dining and takeout meals. Image via John Ferak/Patch


© Provided by Patch
The new Red Crab Juicy Seafood opened Friday in Joliet at 2314 West Jefferson Street. It’s open for indoor dining and takeout meals. Image via John Ferak/Patch

13. Russo’s Italian Deli opened at the end of November at 2424 Plainfield Road in Crest Hill. It’s right next to the Speedway gas station along the busy Route 30 corridor. In recent years, the restaurant property was Tacos Giselle. However, when the site became available this summer, owner Sara Russo thought the location on Plainfield Road was ideal for her. “There’s no Italian delis around here,” she told Joliet Patch’s editor.



a group of people standing in a room: Russo's Family Deli says:


© Provided by Patch
Russo’s Family Deli says:

14. Rosemary Cafe, 1730 Essington Road at the former Sonny’s Delite property. Opened Dec. 21. Owner Bill Dimitroulas said the Rosemary Cafe is a breakfast and lunch restaurant unlike any other in Joliet because so much of the food is international cuisine. He also owns the Hamburgerseria on Essington Road and the CUT 158 Chophouse in downtown Joliet.



a sign on the side of a building: The owners of Hamburgerseria and CUT 158 Chophouse opened Rosemary Cafe as their next Joliet restaurant endeavor. Image via John Ferak/Patch Editor


© Provided by Patch
The owners of Hamburgerseria and CUT 158 Chophouse opened Rosemary Cafe as their next Joliet restaurant endeavor. Image via John Ferak/Patch Editor

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