Stories detailing the opening of new restaurants in Oswego and Yorkville, and a story announcing plans for multiple new businesses in downtown Yorkville caught the attention of a large number of the Record Newspapers’ online readers in 2022.
Here’s a look back at the five Kendall County-area business stories that captured the largest number of reader “clicks” on our website at KendallCountyNow.com over the past 12 months:
1. Dairy Barn opens on Oswego’s Main Street.
The opening of the Dairy Barn ice cream shop and restaurant at 121 S. Main St. was our most read online business story.
In addition to soft serve ice cream, the restaurant offers classic American fare, such as burgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers and fries.
Interest in the Dairy Barn is likely strong in part because the new establishment with its indoor and outdoor dining areas stands on the site of the old Dairy Hut, which had been a fixture on Oswego’s Main Street since 1962. The Dairy Hut, which had no indoor seating and shutdown every winter, closed in 2019 and was subsequently demolished.
Village President Troy Parlier placed the first order at the Dairy Barn after doors opened at 4 p.m. March 8.
Also among the first in line was Robert Thorsen, a village resident who lives just down the street and was a long-time patron of the Dairy Hut.
Thorsen ordered a banana split, which he said might have been better than those he once enjoyed at “The Hut.”
“We’ve been waiting a long time for this to open,” Thorsen said, “We’re going to be coming here a lot.”
Mike Mann, who co-founded Turn 2 LLC, the business that operates Dairy Barn and the 113 Main restaurant next door in 2020, said he had been a customer at the Dairy Hut for 42 years but noted the old business model for the Dairy Hut, was no longer viable in today’s market.
“To the new residents coming in, this is going to be a great place to bring the family,” Mann said. “To those that are going to miss the Dairy Hut, so am I.”
2. Noodles & Co. to open new restaurant in Yorkville
News that Noodles & Co., a national fast casual restaurant chain, would open a restaurant in Yorkville attracted our second highest number of online readers for a business story.
The story posted May 4 detailed the restaurant chain’s plans to open in a 1,877-square-foot space at 1789 Marketview Drive, in a multitenant building near the Menards home improvement store along North Bridge Street (Route 47).
The restaurant chain, with more than 450 locations across the country, features international and American noodle dishes along with soups and salads. Noodle bowls are prepared to order, allowing diners to customize their meals.
Owner of Hell’s BBQ Keith Richards examining the smoke rings as he slices his brisket at a friends and family event Oct. 30 2022. (David Petesch)
3. Hell’s BBQ restaurant opening soon off Orchard Road
A large number of our online readers like their ribs, based on the strong response to our Nov. 1 story announcing the pending opening of Hell’s BBQ restaurant at 1019 Station Drive in the Oswego Junction retail center at the northwest corner of Orchard and Mill roads.
Hell’s BBQ is a family-run business Keith Richards started with the help of his fiancee, Noemi Rios, and his two brothers. The restaurant, which started as a catering business in 2014, had operated out of food trucks and a shared kitchen in Elgin.
Richards said his passion. for barbecue started with his family’s backyard barbecues. He recalled spending summers as child at his grandmother’s house in Chicago, where his family often would spend all day in the backyard hanging out and enjoying her barbecue. When Richards and Rios moved to Montgomery in 2012, they continued the family tradition, hosting neighborhood barbecues and quickly discovered their talent at the pit.
The Game Shop co-owner Nick Vidmar behind the register at the new location in downtown Oswego’s Reserve at Hudson Crossing at Washington (Route 34) and Harrison streets. (David Petesch.
4. First businesses to locate in Reserve at Hudson Crossing commercial, apartment building in downtown Oswego
Reader interest has always been strong for stories concerning the $69 million The Reserve at Hudson Crossing apartment and commercial building that stands along the north side of Washington Street (Route 34) near the Fox River in downtown Oswego.
Our June 22 story detailing the scheduled opening of The Game Shop and the Oak + Bean coffee shop and wine bar continued that trend.
The Game Shop hosted a soft opening June 11. The store sells and trades board games trading cards and collectibles of all varieties and also hosts local tournaments for several games. The store features walls of individual, rare cards for sale and about 800 Funko Pops.
Oak + Bean, which opened earlier this month, is owned by Kacie Wadycki, who also owns Krema Coffee House and Wine and Cheese Co. in Plainfield.
With Oak + Bean, Wadycki said she is combining the business models of both Plainfield restaurants into one space with her Oswego location.
Oak + Bean offers pastries made from scratch and coffee beans roasted on-site. In addition, Oak + Bean boasts a variety of breakfast and lunch menu items, as well as charcuterie boards and small plates for dinner, with the entire menu available all day.
Oak + Bean also offers unique curated wines featuring smaller, boutique wines from across the world and form vineyards across the U.S.
Attorney Boyd Ingemunson speaks to the Yorkville City Council on behalf of his client, developer Pat Harbour, about plans for a project in the city’s downtown, on Sept. 27, 2022. (Mark Foster)
5. Developer plans downtown Yorkville residential, dining and entertainment complex
Our Sept. 29 story detailing Yorkville developer Pat Harbour’s plans to transform three of the city’s historic downtown’s most notable properties into restaurants, drinking establishments, residential apartments and a brewery captured the attention of our readers.
“We’re not going to be Disney, but I see a multiuse entertainment complex,” Harbour said.
One of the properties is the city-owned Van Emmon Activity Center building at the southeast corner of South Bridge (Route 47) and East Van Emmon streets.
The other two are along East Hydraulic Avenue and include the grain elevator and silos that are something of a Yorkville icon, along with the former Farm Service property, which is now vacant.
Harbor told the Yorkville City Council on Sept. 27 that he already has contracts to purchase the silo property and the former FS site.
City officials are eager to sell the Van Emmon Community Center, a former bank building that had been eyed as the future Yorkville City Hall.
“We’ve all wanted to see this happen,” said high-profile Yorkville attorney Boyd Ingemunson, who is representing Harbour and his KEH Development group in connection with the project.