MERRILLVILLE — In what was once a cornfield, dirt was being moved Monday afternoon to signify the start of construction for the latest Williams Eye Institute location.
It seemed like an appropriate location because, as Dr. Doug Williams contemplated his new facility, he thought of a gift a friend gave him for his garden.
“It said, ‘To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow,’” Williams said. “But to build a building like this, I think we have to believe in the next generation.”
He said “the next generation” will play a prominent role at Williams Eye Institute and the construction of the practice’s new 18,000-square-foot facility in the AmeriPlex at the Crossroads business park.
“Our son Blake joined (our practice) two years ago,” Williams said. “Our daughter is going to join us in a year.”
Hasse Construction will build the new Williams Eye Institute location, and that represents another multigenerational business.
“Bill Hasse (the president of Hasse Construction) built our first surgery center in Hammond in 1991, and now his son Billy is with him,” Williams said.
Williams Eye Care hopes to start providing its cataract surgery, glaucoma care and other eye care services at the new facility in slightly more than a year.
“We couldn’t be happier to be part of the community and to continue our dedication to serving our patients and the community,” Williams said.
Bill Hasse said Marasco & Associates in Denver designed the facility, and the one-story building can be expanded another 10,000 square feet if the practice continues to grow.
“So it will look a little unique to what we see with the local architecture,” Bill Hasse said. “It should look pretty cool to have that building out here.”
Town Councilman Shawn Pettit, D-6th, said the Williams Eye Institute project represents a $9.3 million investment in Merrillville.
“That’s the kind of investment we want to see,” Pettit said. “It’s an outstanding economic development project. We’re very excited. It’s a beautiful facility.”
Pettit said the AmeriPlex at the Crossroads business park started off with about 400 acres of available land, and there are about 25 acres remaining there.
“This is just another example of the fine quality this park is,” he said.
Council President Rick Bella, D-5th, said he’s excited about the success of AmeriPlex.
“It’s just remarkable the variety of businesses we’ve attracted here and the different size buildings,” he said.
NWI Business Ins and Outs: Geitonia Greek Grill, Las Delicias Mexican Ice Cream, Underground Thrift Clothing, gym, courthouse patio opening; Timbrook Kitchens relocated; Overstuffed closed
Break out the lemon, oregano and gyro cone. A new Greek restaurant is coming to Valparaiso.
Geitonia Greek Grill will serve "quick, authentic and homemade Greek food" at 1703 Calumet Ave. in Valparaiso.
"There's a big Greek community in Valpo and a church festival but not any real good authentic Greek food like we ate growing up," said owner Michael Filipidis, a Valparaiso native whose family owns the Sunrise Family Restaurant in Chesterton.
Named after the Greek word for feeling like part of a family, neighborhood or community, the restaurant will offer both dine-in and takeout at its location between CVS and the Calumet Station shopping center.
"North Valpo is kind of neglected," he said. "This is something cool right off Calumet Avenue in a newer strip mall that gets traffic off Glendale Boulevard and Calumet and is close enough to downtown that it benefits from that traffic on the weekend."
Targeting early August opening
The menu will include gyros, Greek salads and other Greek fare like platters with one's choice of lamb gyro, chicken gyro, salmon or shrimp atop a bed of rice. It will have lemon rice soup, at least seasonally. It also with have Greek sweets like baklava and loukoumades. Sides will include feta, imported olives and fries with different flavors like lemon and oregano, cumin garlic and Cajun.
Geitonia Greek Grill plans to open by early August. It will deliver via Doordash, UberEats and GrubHub.
Instead of numbers, customers will be given Greek Islands like Santorini, Karpathos, Mykonos and Crete after placing an order.
For more information, find Geitonia Greek Grill on Facebook.
Las Delicias Mexican Ice Cream is coming soon to Cedar Lake.
The ice cream shop specializing in south-of-the-border sweets will open in a newly constructed building at 13212 Wicker Ave. just north of Harry O's and Walgreens. The takeout ice cream parlor will occupy a 1,000-square-foot building with 27 parking spaces that was constructed last year.
Underground Thrift Clothing is coming to a Highland shopping center.
The thrift shop sells an array of used apparel at affordable prices. It signed a lease at Porte De L’eau Plaza on 45th Street.
John O’Malley of Crown Point-based Latitude Commercial represented the new tenant in the transaction. He said it brought a new dynamic to the shopping center.
“Underground Thrift brings an exciting use to Porte De L’eau Plaza. The tenant is known for having a very strong social media presence that assists in sales, but this will be their first 'brick and mortar' store that will add another key element to help bring awareness to the Highland community of a thriving clothing company."
Overstuffed Skillets & Sandwiches closed in Highland.
The restaurant served breakfast, lunch and dinner at 3309 45th St.
Chef Tim Champagne, who previously ran concessions at Chicago Fire, Colorado Rockies, Oakland A's, San Jose Sharks and Gary South Shore RailCats games, opeerated the restaurant in the former Zorba's space on the border of Highland and Griffith.
The 140-seat restaurant served hearty fare like skillets, omelets, burgers, Philly cheesesteaks and fried bologna sandwiches. It had massive Overstuffed Bomb sandwiches, including the Italian Bomb that topped chicken fingers with mozzarella sticks, pepperoni pizza bites, cheese curds, chunky marinara sauce and a warm blanket of mozzarella cheese.
Timbrook Kitchens closed in Munster, relocating to the new SoHo Sweets in South Hollard.
The chef-driven restaurant and bakery was located on Ridge Road near the state line. Specializing in gourmet cuisine, it offered savory pies, paninis, quiche, croissants, scones and Intelligentsia coffee.
"Thank you customers for all the support, conversations and laughs," owner Chris Monroe posted. "Hope that you will visit soon. We have great ice cream, amazing craft coffees with soon to be expanded breakfast and all-day food of sandwiches, sides, salads and pie. You will be welcomed by our friendly staff."
The modern but quaint SoHo Sweets Creamery and Cafe is located at 16129 South Park Ave. in downtown South Holland.
"Our beautiful South Holland historic location includes indoor and outdoor seating with an upper floor for meetings, showers or small group outings," Monroe posted.
"Any Timbrook Kitchens gift certificates with a remaining balance will be converted to a gift card upon your visit. Big thank you to the Village of South Holland team for helping with a smooth transition."
Nina Hartman Counseling opened Wednesday in the Galleria buildings on U.S. 30 in Dyer.
The new counseling agency is located at 275 Joliet St., suite 120A, owner and mental health clinician Nina Hartman said.
"My clinical practice provides mental health counseling/services to clients from children to adults," Hartman said.
"We currently accept private insurance, Medicaid and self-pay for those clients that do not have health insurance. "
For more information, visit
ninahartmancounseling.com, call 219-289-6790 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can take in a whole new view while dining outside in downtown Crown Point.
Ramen District, the hip new Japanese restaurant Chef Chris Pappas opened in the basement of the Old Courthouse, opened an outdoor patio where one can dine al fresco right on the courthouse grounds.
The restaurant at 1 Court House Square serves pork belly bao buns, short rib gyoza, shrimp tempura, smoked chicken fried rice, Thai fried rice, Dan Dan Noodles, Drunken Noodles and of course many varieties of its namesake ramen.
It sources ingredients from local suppliers like Five Hands Farms in Lowell.
For more information, visit
ramendistrict.com or call 219-213-2397.
Under new management
Fans of roller dogs and brain freezes have reason to rejoice.
The 7-Eleven at 2407 Calumet Ave. in Hammond reopened under new management.
The 24/7 convenience store across from Wolf Lake had been temporarily closed. The 7-Elevent at 415 W. Glen Park Ave. in Griffith also has been temporarily closed, though there's another 7-Eleven just two blocks away on Broad Street in Griffith.
Hour of Change Fitness is coming soon to the Crossroads of America shopping center at Indianapolis Boulevard and U.S. 30 in Schererville.
It's a Christian-based gym from Chicago that's been in business since 2007, serving the greater Chicagoland metropolitan area. It aims to fill a voice in the health and fitness industry by offering fitness training based on biblical principles.
"Hour of Change Fitness, Inc. is an organization whose goal is to be available to anyone that walks in through our doors. Our purpose is to build quality relationships with our clients, so that we have a proper response to their health and fitness needs," the company said on its website. "We strive to be an organization that can address the needs of a wide variety of clientele. By structuring various select programs, implementing innovative training practices, and strategic pricing we position ourselves to be attractive to people from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds."
For more information, call 773-801-3932 or visit
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NWI Business Ins and Outs: Den Asian Bistro, Bankquet pop-up restaurant, Spenga Fitness Center, Encore Car Wash, Potato Express opening; Consi…