NAPERVILLE – A Naperville couple has chosen Bolingbrook as the roll-out location for what they hope is the next big restaurant concept.
Say Beignet Coffee & Wine Bar opened earlier this month in a corner storefront at The Promenade Bolingbrook bringing a unique menu of coffee, wine, pastries and sandwiches to pair with live entertainment.
Edwin and Vivian Rios opened Say Beignet – named for the New Orleans-style French pastry – after wrapping up a 10-year lease operating Rumba, a Latin American dance club and restaurant in the trendy River North neighborhood of Chicago. The couple worked alongside each other at Rumba, all the while planning their next project.
"It was about an hour drive downtown [to Rumba] and it just wore us out, so we figured we would do something closer," Vivian Rios said.
The 2,500-square-foot restaurant offers seating for 80 inside and for 55 on an outdoor patio. Edwin Rios called the design "very culinary" with an "open look to it."
"It's got a homey-feel with fireplaces and stone walls. We wanted it to be warm and welcoming, but cool and different at the same time," Edwin Rios said. "It's very contemporary and feel-good."
The menu boasts baked items, notably Vivian's own recipe for beignets – a pastry made from deep-fried choux paste, and salads, sandwiches, flatbreads and appetizers, along with coffee, wine and tea options.
"It's built for a slightly older set of demographics," Edwin Rios said. "We have been attracting a lot of women because of the coffee and upscale nature of the room."
The entertainment will top it all off, he said.
"We're really working hard to try to find quality entertainment. It's been thoughtfully put together so in the evenings we will have a beautiful patio with a piano that rolls inside and outside. We really wanted to push the live entertainment right out into the high exposure area in the Promenade," Edwin said, adding that they're aiming for a "vivacious, New Orleans-type jazz" sound for the entertainment.
The couple already has their eyes on more locations for the Say Beignet concept.
"This is our prototype," Edwin said. "It's our opportunity to analyze the business model, adjust it, and make revisions for our second, third and fourth locations."
He hopes to open additional restaurants within the next few years – possibly a second by next summer – and mentioned downtown Naperville, Orland Park, Woodfield and St. Charles as potential landing spots.
But Bolingbrook was their first choice.
"This is a highly motivated town," Edwin said. "They wanted a high-quality facility and they are very easy to do business with. It was an aggressive move on both parts."
The couple believes the concept could be a category killer.
"We're not Starbucks or Panera – we're something else. Obviously the cafe concept is defined by Starbucks, but Starbucks is one-dimensional. It's coffee alone," he said. "Say Beignet is a fully encompassing cafe experience."
"There's nothing around here quite like this," Vivian added.
If you go
What: Say Beignet Coffee & Wine Bar
Where: 627 E. Boughton Road in the Promenade Bolingbrook
When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday