Rookies in St. Charles sporting a new look these days
Come October, those stopping at Rookies All-American Pub & Grill in St. Charles for the restaurant's wings or burgers will be able to munch on them while sitting on the restaurant's new outdoor patio and listening to a band.
The patio, which is still under construction, is part of a slew of recent improvements at the restaurant at 1545 W. Main St. in St. Charles. The restaurant is one of six Rookies restaurants in the area.
"The footprint of the restaurant is the same. It's just that everything's new," said Bob Karas, one of the owners of the Karas Restaurant Group.
Karas Restaurant Group owns 13 restaurants in the area, including Rookies, The Village Squire, which has four locations; Alexander's Cafe, which has two locations; and Old Republic Kitchen and Bar in Elgin. Another Rookies restaurant is set to open soon in Crystal Lake.
Rookies in St. Charles opened in 1996 under different ownership, and Bob Karas purchased it in 1998.
"It's my baby," he said. "It's the first restaurant I opened by myself with my brother-in-law, Mike Maridis. My dream was always to open a sports bar."
He had worked with his dad, Paul, at The Village Squire. His father opened The Village Squire's first location in 1974 with his brother, George.
One of the improvements made at Rookies was to raise the restaurant's ceiling.
"That's more of the look nowadays," Karas said. "It's pretty modern. The ductwork is also new."
And now, all of the restaurant's television sets are state-of-the-art. Rookies had a packed house on Sept. 11 to watch the Chicago Bears beat the San Francisco 49ers.
The outdoor patio will have seating for at least 100 people and an outdoor bar. It will also feature an outdoor stage and a fire pit.
When the outdoor patio opens, Karas believes it will be well received. Restaurants started turning to outdoor dining as an option following the restrictions on indoor dining caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now there is high demand for outdoor dining.
"Before COVID, outdoor dining was not a thing," Karas said. "It was there, but it wasn't a thing. Now it's here to stay."
Karas is proud of the restaurant's menu.
"Our chicken fingers are homemade," he said. "Our boneless wings are homemade. Our wings can go against anybody's wings. They're very juicy, and we offer a lot of sauces."
Maria Fillion was enjoying the new surroundings Wednesday afternoon while getting ready to eat the chicken tacos she just ordered. She is a longtime customer and a former Village Squire server and bartender.
Her children worked as servers at the Rookies in St. Charles while they were going through college.
"It is really, really nice," Fillion said. "It is so clean and refreshed. It's exciting. The patio is going to be great. They did a great job."
Karas is more than pleased with the restaurant's transformation.
"This is my vision for a modern sports bar," he said. "It's comfortable and family oriented, but also modern."
More information about Rookies is available on its website, rookiespub.com.