By sometime this fall, Gray’s Mill could be open as a restaurant and bar again. And this time, the owners are planning on running it themselves.
On Monday, owner Tim Ivers unveiled plans for a new Americana-themed restaurant in the old mill, one of the oldest standing structures in Montgomery. Ivers has owned Gray’s Mill since 1984, and has completely renovated it, for which he won an award from the Illinois Landmarks Preservation Council in 2001.
A number of tenants have opened restaurants in that space, most recently Jason’s at Gray’s Mill, which closed in 2007. Ivers said Monday that he believes the timing is right, and that “we can run it better than anyone else.”
Ivers has partnered with William Garlough, owner of My Chef Catering in Naperville, to provide food. He said the restaurant will stick to American cuisine, from barbecue to fish fry to burgers. (“It’s what I would enjoy,” he said.)
But the space, which features a 200-seat tent and patio dining, is also ideal for weddings and other functions, and Garlough said they can offer many other options for food. My Chef Catering has been in business for 23 years, Garlough said, and has catered more than 100 weddings, including several at Gray’s Mill.
Ivers and Garlough are seeking a Class L liquor license for the new venture, one which will allow them to serve alcohol outside as well as in the restaurant. And village trustees told him Monday night to go right ahead and apply for it.
Trustee Pete Heinz said Ivers has been “a good businessman for the village,” while Trustee Bill Keck said he would welcome a new restaurant at the mill. When giving his assent, Trustee Matt Brolley summed up his feelings on the matter: “A million percent yes,” he said.
The corner of River and Mill streets, where Gray’s Mill sits, has been hard hit recently, with the closing of Boca Burrito II and the shuttering of after the death of owner Alice Sutcliff in May. Ivers said he is not worried about the economic situation, however.
“I think it’s a good time to do this,” he said. “If there’s no local tavern, it seems like a good opportunity.”
Ivers said the plan would be to open the new restaurant from Wednesday to Saturday each week at first, with the bar open all seven days. He said those hours would likely expand if the community embraces the new venture.
As for when the doors would open, Ivers said it would realistically take months to get all the approvals needed. But the mill remains in good shape, and could open as soon as the paperwork clears, he said.
When trustees asked Ivers when he would open, he responded, “As soon as we can.”