New tavern opens in downtown East Dundee

When Loren Rattner's new restaurant and bar held its soft opening last week in downtown East Dundee, he had only one word to describe the feeling of watching his vision come to life: Rewarding.River Street Tavern at 102 N. River St. fulfills a decades-old...

New tavern opens in downtown East Dundee

When Loren Rattner's new restaurant and bar held its soft opening last week in downtown East Dundee, he had only one word to describe the feeling of watching his vision come to life: Rewarding.

River Street Tavern at 102 N. River St. fulfills a decades-old dream for Rattner, a Lisle resident who has aspired to open his own establishment since he was 15 years old. Now only one week in and still operating on reduced hours, he said, the restaurant is already drawing crowds from throughout the village, especially in the surrounding neighborhoods.

"So far, it has been awesome," said Rattner, who runs the establishment with his business partner, Tina Anton. "We have gotten lots of support from local people, and we've had a lot of people coming who said they walked over."

Since finalizing a lease agreement with property owner Tom Roeser in November, Rattner said seemingly endless hard work and long hours have gone into preparing the restaurant for customers.

The interior of the building, which formerly housed Blues BBQ & Grill, was repainted and upgraded to better suit its new tenant, he said. A new surface along the extended bar was created out of lane floors from the former bowling alley in West Dundee, which is being redeveloped into retail and restaurant space.

A chef and other staff were hired, a menu was created, and several TVs were installed along the walls, Rattner said.

"We don't want to be just a bar, just a restaurant, just a sports pub," he said. "We want to be a place for everyone. We don't want to pigeon ourselves into one sort of thing."

The tavern will serve American-style, gastropub food, including sliders, salads, sandwiches and street tacos. Rattner said some of the unique items on the menu include smoked chicken wings, a peppered candied bacon appetizer and crabcakes made in-house.

During the soft opening, which will likely last until late-February, River Street Tavern opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Rattner said he is looking to hire more cooks, bartenders, servers and hosts before the restaurant begins operating its regular hours, which are 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

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