DeKalb and Sycamore see new, changing businesses
A few businesses in the DeKalb and Sycamore areas have opened or made changes recently, including a new Mexican food chain, a change to local Super Pantry stores and a new Sycamore sports bar.
Here’s a roundup of some of the storefront transformations you might have noticed:
Italian restaurant Villa Verone has been a downtown Sycamore establishment for the past decade. This week, the same owner opened Bar 219 in the same location to take its place.
Owner Pietro Verone said the economy in the past three years largely drove the decision to revamp the 219 State St. location into a sports bar. A new menu, new decor and new staff come with the new name.
“We’ve been in Sycamore for the last 10 years, and we still want to be a part of Sycamore,” Verone said.
The menu contains dishes with fresh ingredients. Handmade burgers – never frozen – are a staple, along with sandwiches, salads and starters.
Villa Verone opened in Geneva 16 years ago and will stay there. Another Villa Verone will remain in place in Elgin.
The Villa Verone restaurant in Sycamore closed about two weeks ago; Verone said that time was spent remodeling. Bar 219 has a new color scheme, layout and furniture.
He plans to book disc jockeys on the weekends and offer different specials after the staff gets a feel for the crowds.
“I think it’s going to do well,” Verone said. “We’ll see once we open the door. We’ll take it one day at a time.”
Pancheros Mexican Grill
Pancheros Mexican Grill is the newest Mexican food franchise to hit the DeKalb and Sycamore areas.
The restaurant, located at 2672 DeKalb Ave. in Sycamore, officially opened April 17. Rockford resident Andrew Kemp, along with his dad, Brad Kemp, and two silent partners are the owners. They opened their first Pancheros Mexican Grill in Rockford in October before deciding to head southeast.
“[Sycamore] was not too far from Rockford, and I have a few friends out here,” Andrew Kemp said. “We found a really good location and wanted to come here.”
A few Mexican food chains are in the area already, but Kemp said fresh homemade tortillas, a really good queso sauce and “BOB” set Pancheros apart.
“BOB,” he explained, stands for “better overall burrito” because of the way ingredients are mixed.
The decor is a little different from other Mexican food franchises, he said. The color scheme and atmosphere are warm, there are a few televisions and an outdoor patio.
To accompany tomorrow’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, Kemp said the restaurant is offering $1 burritos.
The Lukulos Restaurant at the corner of Annie Glidden Road and West Lincoln Highway in DeKalb has moved to 890 Pappas Drive in DeKalb.
Lukulos owner Pete Matarangas said he could no longer afford the former location, which prompted the move to a smaller space. The only other difference is the restaurant no longer has a drive-thru, he said.
The restaurant had been at its Lincoln Highway location since 1997. It’s been in its new home for about five weeks.
The Super Pantry convenience stores in DeKalb and Sycamore have a new gas supplier as of a few weeks ago.
DeKalb Super Pantry manager Ed Martin said Phillips 66 replaced BP gas at Super Pantry stores throughout the northern region.
“Phillips 66 was a better fit,” he said. “It was a company choice.”
Customers won’t notice a change inside the Super Pantry stores, and the same three octanes of gas will be offered, Martin said. New signs are about the only change people will notice.
Under new management, the Mobil gas station at Sycamore and Barber Greene roads in DeKalb is now a Kelley Williamson Mobil, which includes a Kelley’s Market store.
Store manager Chad Davis said Kelley Williamson always owned the property but leased it out about 10 years ago. The inside of the store changed shortly after new management took over in February, and changes to the exterior are coming soon.
Davis said the company plans to install new gas pumps in the next few weeks. The gas station will remain open while new pumps are installed.