New Rockford restaurant prepares to open in former Paragon spot - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

New Rockford restaurant prepares to open in former Paragon spot

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Andy Rio (far right) talks to a customer. Andy Rio (far right) talks to a customer.
Customers enjoy meal at R.B.I.'s. Customers enjoy meal at R.B.I.'s.
ROCKFORD (WREX) -

A storefront empty for four years in downtown Rockford will soon have new life. Not only is a new restaurant moving in, but it is also bringing jobs. There's no name for the new restaurant yet, but the business will need nearly 70 people to work there.

"A family friendly sports bar is what we are aiming for. We are also trying to do an entertainment venue as well. We want some nice live entertainment with some bigger bands that can come from Chicago, Milwaukee and feed off the Metro," says Andy Rio.

Rio and his business partner Denny Trakas, own R.B.I.'s in Loves Park and Onyx in Machensey Park. The two hope to bring a combination of those restaurants into their new venture that will feature brick-oven pizzas. They are building their latest restaurant where Paragon at 205 W. State St. in Rockford's downtown.

"We are going to have pizzas, wings, wraps, salads. There is going to be a game room for the kids as well," says Rio.

Stanley "Curly" Thompson has worked at The Symbols clothes store for two decades. For years, he has had to look at, at least three empty store fronts near his business.

"We have other eateries in the downtown area but the idea of having a new establishment to come to downtown. It will create additional foot traffic," says Thompson.

Thompson hopes this latest restaurant is only the start of new openings in downtown.

"When you have other businesses it creates, what else can we bring downtown that will support the new restaurant," says Thompson.

The owners plan to have the new restaurant opened by Memorial Day weekend. Rio says he will begin taking applications for workers soon.

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