After months of extensive renovations, Molly's Original Pancake House in Lake Zurich is open.
A new family took over White Alps, a longtime eatery in town that closed about 10 months ago.
Garrett Gioulos, a former Chicago police officer, has spent the past several months gutting and renovating the restaurant at 572 W. Main St. near Rand Road and Route 22. He changed the name to Molly's Original Pancake House and is open for breakfast and lunch.
Gioulos, 64, his wife, Angela, and their youngest son, Joe, 25, will operate the restaurant, which will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.
Business on the first two days started well. "It has been really busy and we haven't had a complaint yet," Joe said Thursday afternoon. "Someone just told me we serve the best pancakes they have ever had," he added.
Garrett Gioulos, of Barrington Hills, has 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.
"They have done a lot of work on the restaurant," Lake Zurich Mayor Tom Poynton said Thursday. "It's a much cleaner place."
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 features an array of breakfast foods. Sandwiches, salads and soups are also on the menu. The restaurant continues to serve alcohol. Video gaming machines 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.
Many of the servers who once worked at White Alps have returned to work at the eatery. "I am looking forward to see all the regulars who used to come in," said Lake Zurich native Missy Gudgeon, who worked as a server for three years before the closing.
She said she worked on opening day and that it was nice to hear all the compliments about the renovated restaurant, the food and the coffee.