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New restaurant leading way for East Dundee culinary district

A new restaurant be called Bootleggers Speakeasy will move informer Pour House space 102 N. River St. East Dundee. |

A new restaurant to be called Bootleggers Speakeasy will move into the former Pour House space at 102 N. River St. in East Dundee. | Erin Sauder for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 14, 2014 12:08PM

EAST DUNDEE — The village is making good on its goal of creating a culinary district in the downtown with the approval of a new restaurant.

Trustees this week unanimously approved a redevelopment agreement with George Arsoniadis to open up Bootleggers Speakeasy at 102 N. River St., the former home of the Pour House.

Arsoniadis said the restaurant will offer a mid-scale casual dining experience with fare including chicken, steaks, ribs, pasta, fresh seafood and salads, burgers, melts and desserts. Bootleggers Speakeasy also will have an extensive menu of alcoholic beverages and a worldwide list of affordable wines, he said.

The location has been the home to several unsuccessful bars.

“This approach is much more refreshing,” said Village Administrator Bob Skurla. “The last three people wanted to open a bar, and the restaurant was secondary.”

Officials said the proposed culinary district will focus on recruiting entrepreneurs to open up additional restaurants and specialty food stores to make the village a destination for food, fun and families in the northwestern suburbs.

Arsoniadis estimates remodeling and repairs to the building will be about $400,000. He plans to seek a 30 percent recapture of the investment and take advantage of the village’s facade grant program.

Officials are looking forward to welcoming the new restaurant to East Dundee.

“It’s very good news in that we will now have another middle-of-the-road-to-upscale restaurant in our downtown area,” Skurla said.

Arsoniadis is no stranger to the restaurant business, having opened up the Joe’s American Kitchen and Tavern in Carpentersville, and the Jameson’s Charhouse at Huntley’s Sun City. He also formerly worked with his uncles, Paul and George Karas, at their Village Squire and Alexander’s restaurants.

Arsoniadis said the speakeasy concept has been on his mind for the last five years.

“I’ve been in the restaurant business for quite a few years, and this was something I thought would be a nice concept to bring back,” he said.

Other ideas proposed for the district includes a chocolatier, specialty spirits shop, retailer of culinary supplies, and more restaurants. The initiative also could include possible partnerships with the culinary institutes at Kendall College or Elgin Community College to provide internship opportunities.

The culinary district is a facet of the village’s downtown revitalization effort. With the help of Otto Engineering President Tom Roeser, East Dundee officials have been moving forward on plans to make the downtown a notable Fox Valley destination. The focus will be to enhance the Depot Plaza Square area, which includes concepts for public improvements as well as private development projects. Some proposed amenities for the area — which includes Barrington, Meier and River streets — are a children’s splash pad, removable ice rink, retail and even an upscale apartment complex.

Anyone interested in being part of the culinary district should contact program coordinator Doug Bergren at 847-426-2822 or

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