Proud Richard’s, a new contemporary American cuisine restaurant, will open this month in the space formerly occupied by Lonzerotti’s Italia Restaurant, a Jacksonville staple since 1987.
The original owners, Mike and Betty Goldasich, transformed the historic Chicago and Alton Railroad station building at 600 E. State St. into an Italian restaurant more than three decades ago. The most recent owners, Frank and Sue Whitney, sold the restaurant in June. New owner Joe Standley is a Jacksonville native who recently returned after a decade working in the Chicago hospitality industry.
Standley returned to his hometown of Jacksonville and started looking for a location for his new venture. While he was initially thinking of a tavern concept, when he learned that Lonzorotti’s was for sale, he decided to take advantage of that opportunity.
Standley also said that the famous Lonzerotti’s salad dressing will continue to be sold in grocery stores, since that is now produced in St. Louis by a separate business entity. Coincidentally, when he returned to Jacksonville, he began making and selling his own salad dressing as a way of having some income while he worked to get his new restaurant venture off the ground. His signature recipe will become the house dressing for Proud Richard’s.
While Standley had hoped to be open earlier this fall, he said that contractors’ work schedules and supply chain issues contributed to the delays. He is now planning a soft opening Nov. 22-24 with the grand opening on Saturday, Nov. 27.