A new family has taken ownership of a Lake Zurich restaurant that operated for about 30 years as White Alps before closing around Halloween.
Garrett Gioulos, a former Chicago police officer, has spent the past several months gutting and renovating the eatery near Rand Road and Route 22. He changed the name to Molly's Original Pancake House and hopes to open soon for breakfast and lunch.
Gioulos, of Barrington Hills, said he has spent about $100,000 to give the eatery a new look and make it functional. A new roof, air conditioning unit, cooler repairs, new flooring and appliances in the kitchen have been part of the massive upgrade. A fresh coat of paint on the outside and parking lot repairs are the most obvious changes to people driving by.
"It's a lot of work," said Gioulos, 64. His wife, Angela and their youngest son, Joe, 25, will assist in running the operation.
Gioulos stressed that they have used local contractors to do the work, as they will be the ones eating at the new restaurant.
The eatery is named after Gioulos' daughter-in-law, Molly, who lives in Volo. He was going to name the pancake house after his granddaughter, Caroline, but after some debate, determined the name Molly is more catchy.
The new family establishment will feature an array of breakfast foods. Sandwiches, salads and soups are also on the menu. The restaurant will continue to serve alcohol. Gioulos noted that bloody marys are popular on the weekends. Video gaming machines will also operate at Molly's.
The hospitality industry is familiar to Gioulos, who grew up in the restaurant business. He said his father and grandfather owned establishments on the north side of Chicago. "I was working in the kitchen at the age of 14," Gioulos said. "I love the business."
Lake Zurich Mayor Tom Poynton welcomes the new restaurant and has stopped by to check on the progress from time to time. "It will be nice to see a breakfast place operating there again," Poynton said.