Stolp Island Social restaurant to reopen in Aurora

  • The restaurant Stolp Island Social, a "Seasonal Kitchen and Steakhouse" in Aurora that has been closed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to reopen on Friday, Dec. 10.

    The restaurant Stolp Island Social, a "Seasonal Kitchen and Steakhouse" in Aurora that has been closed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to reopen on Friday, Dec. 10. Courtesy of Stolp Island Social

  • The Clover Club is a specialty cocktail at Stolp Island Social in Aurora.

    The Clover Club is a specialty cocktail at Stolp Island Social in Aurora. Courtesy of Galdones Photography

  • The restaurant Stolp Island Social briefly opened at the end of 2019 adjacent to the Paramount Theatre in the John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center before it closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The restaurant Stolp Island Social briefly opened at the end of 2019 adjacent to the Paramount Theatre in the John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center before it closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Daily Herald File Photo, 2018

  • Amy Morton

    Amy Morton

 
 
Updated 12/2/2021 11:58 AM

Restaurateur Amy Morton is back to place bets on Aurora with Stolp Island Social.

Located adjacent to the Paramount Theatre, the "seasonal kitchen and steakhouse" is reopening Friday, Dec. 10, after being shut for nearly two years.

 

"We love Aurora, we love our restaurant, and every decision we've made is to ensure that we'll be here for the long run," Morton said.

So Morton is taking things cautiously by initially opening Stolp Island Social only four nights a week. And though the restaurant and bar can accommodate up to 150 people, Morton only plans on seating half the dining room due to limited staffing issues.

"We will not seat tables where we cannot give our all," said Morton, stressing the importance of customer service. "Time after time, I'm hearing from other people who have said they've gone to a restaurant and waited 25 minutes because they could not get a server."

Morton is the daughter of the late Arnie Morton, the legendary Chicago restaurant owner of Morton's Steakhouse fame. She has gone on to own and operate such acclaimed Evanston restaurants as Found and The Barn Steakhouse. Morton opened Stolp Island Social to much fanfare at the end of 2019. It has a focus on sustainability like Morton's other restaurants, which often source ingredients locally whenever possible.

Morton was pleased to recognize many enthusiastic repeat customers in the three-month window when the restaurant operated before shuttering due to the global COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We created a space where there was a gigantic need," Morton said. "We had so, so many people coming in who needed a spot to eat."

Morton was drawn to Aurora in large part due to the phenomenal success of the Paramount Theatre. The Aurora venue launched its own Broadway series of professionally produced musicals in 2011.

"We are gigantic supporters of the Paramount Theatre and have really tried to base a lot of what we do on them," said Morton, noting that she had hoped to reopen Stolp Island Social in August when her neighbor resumed live performances.

Visiting Aurora over the years also caused Morton to take more notice of the city itself.

"The passion that the people in and around Aurora have for reinventing themselves is pretty spectacular," Morton said. "And I wanted to be a part of that."

Morton is proud that Stolp Island Social will reopen with an all-Aurora staff, including John Thurmond as the new Chef de Cuisine. Thurmond has worked in such Michelin-starred kitchens as Alina in Chicago, Faviken in Sweden and Rubicon in San Francisco.

"(Thurmond) is incredibly versatile and has created a menu very much based on the principles and fundamentals of what we did the first time around," Morton said. "But with his own spin."

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.