With some of Hollywood's brightest stars giving a shout-out to the first plant-based meal served at the recent Golden Globes awards, the idea of healthier eating is hitting stride as more than just an "Impossible Burger" trend at Burger King.
That could bode well for Ron Anderson of Geneva as he prepares to open what he is calling "the first plant-based eatery in the area."
He's building the Rejoice restaurant in the building he owns at 507 S. Third St. in Geneva, with the restaurant going in Suite A. The back part of the building houses the Finetix Fitness Center he also operates. The restaurant will complement the fitness center, but they will operate as separate businesses.
The work at Rejoice is occurring at the same time the Forever Yogurt location at the southeast corner of Third and State streets is also luring potential new businesses.
Forever Yogurt closed in the past month, after about five years of business after taking over for a Caribou Coffee that had operated at that corner for several years.
There was some confusion in town as to whether Anderson was opening Rejoice at the Forever Yogurt spot, but it made far more sense for him to do it in his own building, two doors south of that corner spot.
"The big push now is for building Rejoice because we have had a lot of requests for a healthier eating option in the community," said Anderson, himself a former Olympic taekwondo athlete and competitor in professional men's physique competitions.
"It is perfect timing for this and people have been looking for something like this," Anderson said. "I have been consulting for years in the health business and I wanted to bring something new and innovative to the community."
One goal of Rejoice would be "to show people that eating healthy doesn't mean you have to eat stuff that doesn't taste good," Anderson added.
Rejoice will offer "hearty" salads, juices, smoothies, rice bowls and other dishes. "We will educate people who want vegan, gluten-free or plant-based that they can still eat real well and enjoy it," he added.
In seeking ways to lure more customers, Rejoice will have kiosks available for certain businesses at which people can order meals by 10 a.m. and have them delivered to their locations by lunchtime.
In addition, Rejoice will be the first restaurant in the area to have a "youth center," Anderson said. "You can carry out and order ahead of time, but if you dine in and you have little ones, they can come to our youth center on the other side of the building."
Anderson plans a soft opening for Rejoice in February. He has several local athletes involved in the project as directors, including former pro soccer player Therese Davidson.
"We are bringing all of the right people together for this one," he said.
Red-light camera stench:
We smelled rotten eggs regarding red-light cameras a few years ago, even when it was initially felt they could be helpful on Randall Road. Over time, county and city officials had enough complaints about the process being nothing more than a money grab, plus some political reservations about the whole process, that the cameras were eventually shelved.
Now the state has been citing the silliness and corruption of it all, as Comptroller Susana Mendoza says her office isn't going to help towns collect fines for these violations. What seemed like a way to improve safety has turned into a way to hit someone with a stiff fine for not coming to a complete stop for a right-hand turn on red, Mendoza said.
The recent clamor against red-light fines was too late for me. I recently received a notice from the city of Chicago in the mail that I had gone through a red light while in the city.
That was the night I was trying to get out of the city after a Bears game in early December. Of course, I don't recall ever going through a red light, but they have pictures of my car and supposedly a video (which would not play on my computer) to prove it.
So I did the required amount of complaining to myself and sent the $100 check.
At least the Bears did a relatively rare thing that night. They won at home, and looked pretty good doing it. Like I said, rare.
Dealing in mud:
Metronet turned our neighborhood into MetroMud. There must be a rush to get the fiber TV and internet service hooked up, because it was all systems go in tearing up yards and making all sorts of muddy areas.
I know people love their digital TV setups, and if Metronet is a new player providing different options, then consumers are generally all ears.
But doesn't winter tear up things enough without help from man and machine? Do we need TV companies chopping things up as well?
In the forest:
Robb Cleave, the volunteer coordinator for the Kane County Forest Preserve District, has a good way of luring volunteers to the district.
"No matter what your interest or abilities, there is a way to get involved here at the district," he said, noting the forest preserve is seeking volunteers for 30 different positions.
Those would range from tasks in natural resources, environmental education, public safety, trails and recreation, and cultural and historic preservation.
The next orientation session is from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 16, at the district headquarters at 1996 S. Kirk Road in Geneva. More sessions are planned throughout the year.
For details, contact Cleave at CleaveRobb@kaneforest.com.