Published July 2, 2015
Long-awaited Fuller House opens its doors
Pub-style restaurant soon to be joined on First by blow dry bar, Ashley’s and more
By Pamela Lannom
Some three years after talk began about creating a restaurant at 35 E. First St., Fuller House has become a reality.
The new establishment, which officially opened June 23, has been well-received, said Sam Vlahos, who owns the restaurant with his sister, Patricia Vlahos-Segretto.
“One word to describe it would be amazing,” Vlahos said. “It’s been more than we could have asked for. Everyone seems to be having a good time. From opening to close people have been here.”
The siblings, who also own Bricks Wood Fired Pizza and Cafe, bought the restaurant last year. The rustic, 3,400 square-foot space features exposed brick, salvaged oak from a barn that once housed a Kentucky Derby winner and 400-year-old beams from a Catholic church. That ambiance inspired the siblings to feature 21 bourbons on its menu.
“We’re making bourbon cocktails and making people want to try bourbon,” Vlahos said. “We’re making an awesome blackberry bourbon lemonade. It’s been selling like crazy.”
So has the peach smash. The wines and craft beers have been popular as well, Vlahos-Segretto said.
“People are really loving our wine selection,” she said.
People are loving the food, too, she said. Among the top sellers in the first week of business are the burgers, the grilled cheese made with house-smoked brisket, the shrimp po’ boy, the salads and the pizza baked in the restaurant’s wood-fired oven.
The atmosphere is just what the siblings hoped to create.
“It feels like a real community bar,” Vlahos said. “A lot of people know each other. A lot of people come in, hang out. It’s been wonderful so far.”
His sister agreed.
“They think it’s a really warm and cozy atmosphere,” she said. “There is nothing like it in this area.”
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.
Blow Dry & Style House
Cathleen Stoelting, CEO and founder of Ten Friends Blow Dry & Style House, can’t wait to introduce Hinsdale to her new blow dry bar.
The location at 11 E. First St., set to open in early August, is one of six to eight stores she plans to open in the Chicago area.
“Our Hinsdale store is definitely our flagship store,” she said. “We really were very specific about choosing it to be our first one, and we’re so excited about coming into the community.”
Blow dry bars are a relatively new segment in the salon and spa industry and very popular on both coasts, Stoelting said.
“It hasn’t really come into full force into the Midwest yet,” she said. “We are very excited about the opportunity and the concept. It’s basically a throwback to when your grandma did the weekly salon visit.”
The experience will be completely different than having hair blow dried after a cut, Stoelting said. The shampoo will last five to 10 minutes and include a scalp massage, and the products and techniques used in styling are exceptional.
“When I get (my hair) professionally done, it lasts three or four or five days,” she said. “It looks so much better than when I do it myself and it lasts so much longer.”
The salon will have the feel of an upscale home rather than a commercial space, and a limited liquor license will give customers the ability to enjoy a glass of wine, champagne or beer with their service.
Hinsdale seemed to be the perfect choice for the premiere location, Stoelting said.
“We want our guests to feel like they are coming into a friend’s very upscale coastal home. We felt like the downtown area in Hinsdale was a good match with the feeling we are trying to create,” she said.
The Hinsdale location is expected to open the end of the first week in August. Other salons are set to open in Barrington in September, Glencoe in late October or early November and Naperville next summer. Stoelting is working on lease negotiations for two other sites as well.
She said she has enjoyed creating a space where women, who spend so much time taking care of everyone else, can relax and be taken care of themselves.
“They can walk out feeling empowered and confident and inspired,” she said. “I just love being able to do that.”
Ashley’s Custom Stationery and More is expected to open Aug. 1 in Garfield Crossing.
The shop soon will have some company, said Todd Naccarato, who owns the building at First Street and Garfield Avenue with his brother, Clay. There are four retail spaces left on the first floor.
“We’re in negotiations on two of those spaces,” Naccarato said. “They are pending, so I can’t really say who they are.”
On the second floor, 8,000 square feet of office space has been leased.
“We only have 2,000 square feet remaining on the second floor and we’re close to completing a lease on that space as well,” Naccarato said. “That will put us about 65 percent occupied.”
Finding tenants for the first floor has been a little more challenging than he expected, Naccarato said. Response to the second floor space, which he described as the only Class A office space in town, has been surprising in a good way.
“People saw that as a positive and really aggressively contacted us to talk about the second floor,” he said.
He is eager to see tenants operating in his building.
“We’re excited about it,” he said. “It will be great to finally have some storefronts. With Ashley’s opening, I think it will spur more people (to consider leasing).”
Al Lotfi, owner of Casa Margarita, said he is working on obtaining the permits and contracts necessary to start construction on a new restaurant in the Hinsdale train station at 21 E. Hinsdale Ave.
“We are starting remodeling shortly after the permits are issued,” he said. “We are hoping to be open by the end of the year, definitely.”
The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.