South Grove Avenue in downtown Elgin is buzzing with activity -- a new coffee shop opened last month, a sushi restaurant and pizza joint are in the works, and an early 20th century building is being renovated by its new owner.
One of the owners of Elgin Books, located in the middle of all the bustle, says it's the first time in 13 years that it feels like the downtown business climate might be starting to turn the corner. "Hopefully I am right," Herminda Spencer said.
• Cafe Revive is the latest tenant of Dream Hall at 51 S. Grove Ave., where Legit Dogs & Ice and Elgin Area Taproom opened earlier this year. The coffee shop offers a variety of coffees, Mexican specialties like horchata and Jamaica, or hibiscus iced tea, and pastries made from scratch. The menu is being expanded this week to include gluten- and dairy free products. "We are trying to make everything fresh and flavorful," said Patrice Aguirre, who owns the cafe with her husband, Jesus.
• Kubo Sushi & Sake Lounge at 70 S. Grove Ave. will be opening shortly after Labor Day, said Kris Palermo, who co-owns the restaurant with his sister Melodi. The city has approved a liquor license pending an occupancy permit. Construction workers are finishing up the electrical and plumbing work, and the furniture, kitchen equipment and vendor contracts are ready to go, Palermo said. The biggest delay was related to grease trap regulations, which the landlord took care of, he added.
• Bricks Wood Fired Pizza is expected to open in 45 to 60 days at 64 S. Grove Ave. in the space formerly occupied by Chooch's Pizza, said co-owner Phil Lencioni. This will be the first franchise of the pizza joint, which has seven locations including in West Dundee, Naperville and Mount Prospect, he said. The Elgin space is being outfitted with a wood-fired oven that will produce thin crust pizza in 90 seconds to two minutes, he said. The menu will include soups, salads and sandwiches, and "more to come," he said. "We fell in love with it," he said of the building. "We loved the exposed brick. We love the outdoor patio area and its position along the river."
• Landlord Andrew Cuming is renovating a 1908 building he bought about three months ago on South Grove Avenue, where he plans to move his property management company offices. The building has three tenants -- Escapade 360, Shop and Share, and a law office -- with addresses at 76 and 80 S. Grove Ave., and 77 Riverside Drive. Cuming said he's doing massive renovation and repairs, and hopes to attract five more tenants. "Elgin is growing and improving," said Cuming, who lives in Elgin and owns 14 buildings in town, mostly in and around downtown. "I believe in Elgin."