By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — New ownership plans to revive the former Josef’s Steakhouse & Oyster Bar with a new upscale dining establishment and a menu similar to what customers of the former restaurant remember.
Josef’s, 6860 Spring Creek Road, closed at the end of December after 17 years in business. Now Dr. David Stern, the CEO of the urgent care software company Experity, is developing plans to bring it back into business, according to documents filed with the city.
Josef’s specialized in fresh seafood, aged Angus steaks and other vintage fine-dining with a modern twist. The new Salt Barbados would have a similar menu including fresh oysters, lobster thermidor, Chilean sea bass and New York strip steaks, according to plans submitted to the city.
“People love having the delectable dishes conjured up by highly talented and creative chefs,” the business plan submitted to the city states. “Dishes in a restaurant are supposed to be the masterful creations of expert chefs who have been trained thoroughly to master these dishes and get the perfect taste.”
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The timeline for reopening the restaurant is unclear. Stern could not be reached for comment. We’ll provide an update when we hear back from him.
On Monday, the City Council’s Code and Regulation Committee unanimously approved a liquor license for the restaurant. That step comes before the license is voted on by the full City Council next week.
Construction is underway at the restaurant.
“I’m personally excited,” Alderwoman Gabrielle Torina said on the committee floor. “I’m just excited to see for a restaurant to close for another one to open there so quickly, and it looks like they’re making some great improvements to the space.”
The restaurant opened in 2005 as Josef Barbados under the ownership of chef Josef Schwaiger and his wife, Cherri Rittenhouse. Lola Renner, a longtime employee who also runs the nearby Hemp Center of Northern Illinois in the same strip center, took over ownership of the restaurant in 2019.
This article is by Kevin Haas. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @KevinMHaas or Instagram @thekevinhaas