Rose Garden Cafe moving to old Sweet Baby Ray's building in Elk Grove Village

  • The Rose Garden Cafe has been a staple for decades at the corner of Higgins and Arlington Heights roads in Elk Grove Village. But it's going to move down the street amid forthcoming redevelopment that will see the restaurant building torn down.

      The Rose Garden Cafe has been a staple for decades at the corner of Higgins and Arlington Heights roads in Elk Grove Village. But it's going to move down the street amid forthcoming redevelopment that will see the restaurant building torn down. Jake Griffin | Staff Photographer

  • The building housing Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue, which closed its Elk Grove Village location in June after 16 years, is set to be renovated and become the new home of Rose Garden Cafe.

      The building housing Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue, which closed its Elk Grove Village location in June after 16 years, is set to be renovated and become the new home of Rose Garden Cafe. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/18/2022 5:13 PM

Rose Garden Cafe -- the long-standing family-owned diner in Elk Grove Village known for its steak and eggs, pancakes and Grecian specialties -- will move down the street to the building that housed the recently closed Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue.

The relocation is being done as part of a deal with the village, which purchased the old Sweet Baby Ray's building and is letting Rose Garden move there to pave the way for redevelopment at the shopping center that is its current home.

 

"We don't have a whole lot of restaurants in Elk Grove. We have few family-style restaurants like the Rose Garden," said Mayor Craig Johnson. "We always felt that was an important component of this community. So we're partnering with them to make this happen."

Under a 17-page redevelopment agreement approved by the village board this week, the village will convey the old Sweet Baby Ray's at 800 E. Higgins Road to Rose Garden partners George Londos and Chris and Alex Pontikis, in exchange for agreeing to cancel their lease at 111 E. Higgins Road early.

The village has spent nearly $20 million acquiring properties in and around the Elk Grove Woods Plaza shopping center as part of its redevelopment vision for the gateway corner at Higgins and Arlington Heights roads. That includes $10.7 million to purchase the shopping center and Rose Garden building, $2 million for the Elk Grove Bowl and $5 million for the Shell gas station.

Last month, the board inked an agreement to buy the barbecue restaurant just down Higgins for $1.15 million but didn't say at the time what it intended to do with the property.

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Rose Garden will get full control of the Sweet Baby Ray's building as long as the diner remains in operation for five years; the owners are also getting $400,000 from the village to help pay for interior and exterior remodeling, per the redevelopment agreement.

But Johnson said the deal is worth it because the village won't have to buy out Rose Garden's lease at the shopping center, which runs until the end of 2023.

The lease will be terminated March 31, 2023, with plans to open the renovated restaurant by April 1, officials said.

"We're so pleased that we will not be forced out by new development, but rather embraced and supported by the community," Chris and Alex Pontikis, the husband-and-wife restaurant owners, said in a statement provided in a village news release.

Meanwhile at the plaza, teardown of the old 38,000-square-foot bowling alley that closed in April is expected in the coming weeks. The village board this week approved a $198,750 demolition contract with Des Plaines-based Albrecht Enterprises.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The board also inked a $67,520 contract with McHenry-based HR Green for engineering, construction observation and project management for the planned demolition of the corner gas station. HR Green will coordinate the bidding process to find a demo contractor.

The village will send out its long-planned request for proposals to developers for the entire 10-acre corner property on Sept 1. Preliminary plans call for an apartment building of 250 to 300 units and three to five stories, and a separate retail building, with the goal of keeping as many of the existing businesses as possible, officials said.

A town hall meeting is tentatively set for Nov. 9 to view the concepts that are received, and the board plans to make a selection by January 2023, Johnson said.

Construction could begin by the fall of 2023 or spring of 2024.

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