Business in Naperville is booming, with a flurry of new shops, restaurants and developments settling in. Foodies looking for some healthy options will be happy to hear that Sweetgreen is slated to come to Downtown Naperville. The national fast-casual chain focuses on simple, seasonal, made from scratch items, and prides itself on using fresh produce each day.
“We’ve had a lot of people asking about can we get a salad store or salad restaurant? It will be going in on Main Street, so we’re really excited about that,” said president of the Naperville Development Partnership, Christine Jeffries.
Comfort food lovers will soon be able to have their fill of fresh pasta, wood-fired pizza and small plate dishes when GIA MIA opens on August 15. It’s set up shop in the Old Nichols Library at 110 Washington Street. For those looking for a sweet treat, Cookies & Dreams will open in the Fall at 22 East Chicago Avenue. The female-owned company will offer 12 delicious cookies on the menu, along with different seasonal favorites during the year.
Those three businesses join many that have recently come on the downtown Naperville scene. “Already this year, we’ve had a huge boom of new businesses that have come downtown from Bev’s, which will soon end up being Cali’s,” said executive director of the Downtown Naperville Alliance Danielle Tufano. “We also have Zade’s Lounge over on Washington and Chicago. Faherty, which is a men and women’s clothing store. LC Home is a design place and Jo-Jo’s Shake Bar is a big one.
Outside of downtown, resurgence in the East Ogden Corridor has brought many newcomers. Jeffries credits that to the addition of Naperville’s second Costco store. “With that comes with what we call the ‘halo effect’, and so you’re seeing other stores that are renovating their storefronts,” said Jeffries. “Places like First Watch opening their new restaurant here, Amazon Fresh, Guzman and Gomez and Culvers all opening in that corridor. And then we saw what was a very old, outdated motel that is now called ‘The Vantage Apartments”, and they’re spectacular.”
And a new 20,000-square-foot retail and restaurant building will be going up soon in the Eastgate Crossing Shopping Center on East Ogden. That spot will host two new Asian-inspired restaurants. Naansense will feature Indian-style street food, while Kura Sushi will have a revolving sushi bar and robot servers. Heading south, there’s a new development on Route 59 that has something for everyone.
“The Matrix is probably one of the most spectacular meeting and event centers in the region,” said Jeffries. “It’ll be three different event centers all under one roof. One will be a large banquet space that can handle over 1,000 people in a banquet setting. There’s one that has a stage for what they call ‘The Spoken Word’ and that’s a performing arts center that has about seating for 200 (people). And then the Matrix restaurant lounge which will have live entertainment, a dining area.”
And besides all those mentioned…Jeffries and Tufano say to stay tuned for other businesses on the horizon. “All that I can say is that we already have some, you know, world class shopping and dining in downtown Naperville, and it’s going to get even better. (cut to) I think we’re going to go definitely to the next level here by the end of the year,” said Tufano.
Reporting for Naperville News 17, I’m Will Payne.