Thursday, January 18, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: Anthony Donato, owner of Broadview Family Restaurant. | VFP
Jerome Watson, a Broadview resident who lives just up the street from Broadview Family Restaurant, 2417 Roosevelt Rd., in Broadview, had already been to the new and improved family establishment twice since it opened last Thursday.
Watson was a regular at the restaurant when it was called the Marquee — a 40-year staple of the community. After a $1 million, 15-month remodeling project, which included the christening of a new name on the restaurant’s marquee (no pun intended), Watson said he may frequent the restaurant even more than he did in the past.
“This one is much better,” he said between sipping an order of soup on Jan. 18, the day of the new and improved restaurant’s grand opening. “It’s bigger, the menu is larger, everything is just more enjoyable.”
For Lindop District 92 school board member Princess Dempsey, who was also a regular at the Marquee, the catfish — and the service — is all the rage.
“She’s a good server, she takes care of us,” Dempsey said of waitress Kassandra Arboleda, who was all smiles as she passed out complimentary slices of cakes before the official ribbon-cutting of the restaurant that virtually everyone interviewed called a definite improvement over the old one.
Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson lauded the reconstructed and renamed establishment.
“This has been a pillar of the community for many years,” she said during the grand opening. “And it has improved. The video gaming in the old place was out in the open, now you don’t see it. The bathrooms are bigger. It’s very nice.”
Broadview village officials, including Mayor Katrina Thompson and state Sen. Kimberly Lightford, cut the ribbon with Donato on Jan. 17. | VFP
During the ribbon-cutting, Thompson recalled the moment that Anthony Donato, the restaurant’s 33-year-old owner, asked her to recommend a name for the newly remodeled facility.
“I said it should be the Marquee and Anthony said, ‘I’m thinking about changing the name.’ I told him to talk to his wife,” Thompson recalled, laughing — the implication is that enacting such a major identity change for a place with four decades of history and memories is best left to the owners.
But although the name is changed, the restaurant’s DNA is very much intact, said Donato, who had just taken over ownership of the Marquee when he decided to remodel.
“I operated the Marque for three months before starting the remodel,” he said. “The old restaurant has a lot of history and a built-in base of loyal customers, but there wasn’t a lot of space to accommodate their needs.”
Donato said that the redesigned establishment features a larger floor plan to accommodate groups of up to 30 people.
The expanded menu still carries family diner staples like pancakes and burgers, but the longer operating hours (the Marquee was only open until 3 p.m.) mean that Broadview Family Restaurant can really show off its dinner menu, which Donato said features a Grecian and Italian flair.
The outside of Broadview Family Restaurant, which recently reopened after a year-long remodel. | VFP
Work started on the build-out last year, under former mayor Sherman Jones, and was helped along by $350,000 in TIF funds offered by the village of Broadview.
Jones, now a trustee, said that he believes the TIF investment will more than pay off in the long term, adding that the remodel is part of a larger pattern of new investment taking place in the village.
“We have a lot of stuff going on around here,” he said. “Everything in a municipality centers around finances. You have to generate, and continue to improve, your finances. And this is how we find a way to generate more revenue without increasing property taxes.”
Other village officials, like Clerk Kevin McGrier, who is also vice-president of Broadview’s Chamber of Commerce, agreed.
“This does nothing but spur more business to come here,” McGrier said of the remodeled restaurant. “A business owner who sees this as a thriving business gets more inspiration to come here.”
Donato said that he was looking forward to another 40 years.
“This cost over $1 million and we were over-budget, it took a while, but all that matters is we’re open now,” he said. “We’ll be here forever.” VFP
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