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updated: 8/27/2021 4:53 PM

Tapas restaurant planned for downtown Batavia

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  • There are plans to open a tapas restaurant in the former Gaetano's space at 15 E. Wilson St. in Batavia.

    There are plans to open a tapas restaurant in the former Gaetano's space at 15 E. Wilson St. in Batavia.
    Susan Sarkauskas | Staff Photographer, 2014

 
 

Two Batavia restaurant and bar owners are teaming up to open a tapas restaurant downtown.

It will go in the space formerly occupied by Gaetano's, 15 E. Wilson St., on the northwest corner of Wilson and North River Street.

Melissa Monno of Sidecar Supper Club and Beer Garden, and John Hamel of Pal Joey's restaurants and Bar Evolution have leased the space, the owner of the building told Batavia aldermen Tuesday.

"I think it is going to be a real interesting addition to downtown," Alderman Alan Wolff said.

Alderman Joe Knopp also welcomed the news. "I kind of felt we did not need another Italian/pizza place," he said.

The building's owner came before the council to ask the city for $22,734 toward outfitting the 131-year-old two-story building with an automated fire-suppression system. The city has a program that pays 50% of costs for installing such systems in existing downtown buildings.

Aldermen unanimously supported the grant and will take an official vote on it Sept. 7.

The building has housed several restaurants over the past two decades. Limestone Coffee and Tea was there for four years. Then Gaetano's, owned by chef Gaetano DiBenedetto and his wife, Wendy Reed, opened in 2014. DiBenedetto has another restaurant in Forest Park.

When the DiBenedettos divorced, Reed changed the name to Verita in February 2019. The restaurant closed in December 2019 and, since then, the space has remained vacant.

Monno's Sidecar Supper Club is about a block north on River Street, as is Hamel's Bar Evolution. There are two Pal Joey's restaurants: one on West Main Street in Batavia and the other on Roosevelt Road in West Chicago.