Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

Joseph S. Pete

Joseph S. Pete

NWI Business Ins and Outs: Provecho Latin Provisions, KISS-themed restaurants, Ollie's Bargain Outlet opening

Chris Pappas opens Provecho Latin Provisions in Crown Point this week.

Anticipation has been mounting for Provecho Latin Provisions since Tequila Restaurante closed on the courthouse square in downtown Crown Point last year.

New owner and chef Chris Pappas, whose family owns several restaurants in Crown Point, has been transforming the prime space at 110 S. Main St. into an upscale Latin restaurant with tastes of Spain and South America. The wait is over.

"GRAND OPENING!" Provecho Latin Provisions posted on social media. "Months of dreaming, planning, hard work, and collaboration have come together to bring you Provecho Latin Provisions. Our grand opening will take place Tuesday, March 13th!"

The restaurant will serve traditional tapas dishes like grilled octopus and baked goat cheese in tomato sauce, as well as dishes like corn poblano soup and "Cuban-inspired empanadas with ribeye, green plantain, oaxaca cheese and roasted poblano." Many ingredients will be sourced from local providers such as Five Hands Farm in Lowell.

Provecho Latin Provisions takes its name from the Spanish phrase buen provecho, which roughly translates to bon appetite. It will serve cocktails made with seasonal fresh fruits that are cold-pressed daily, as well as house-made orgeat, falernum, allspice and cinnamon syrups.

Reservations are recommended.

For more information, call 219-663-0050 or visit www.provechocp.com.


Schererville-based Latitude Commercial Real Estate is bringing a restaurant chain owned by KISS frontmen Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley to the south suburbs.

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Rock & Brews, which combines comfort food, a wide selection of craft beers and a "family-friendly rock 'n' roll experience," plans to open at the corner of LaGrange Road and 143rd Street in the Orland Park Crossing Lifestyle Center in Orland Park, and at the corner of Cicero Avenue and 111th Street in the Stony Creek Promenade in Oak Lawn.

The Rock & Brews menu includes "creative spins" on burgers, wings, pizza, salads, as well as an extensive tap list that is "always rotating to feature the latest and greatest in craft brew."

“We are very excited to see the concept start their roots in these two locations and see the brand expand throughout Chicago in the future," Latitute Commercial Real Estate President Aaron McDermott said. "We are currently exploring locations for an additional three to four sites within the next two years.”


Poppy & Pleets Boutique opened at 9735 Fran Lin Parkway in Munster. The store sells trendy women's clothes, shoes, handbags, jewelry and accessories that are also affordably priced in a chic space with a quote by Coco Chanel: "The best color in the world is the one that looks good on you."

Now Poppy & Pleets owner Meghan Edens plans to open a second location at 7958 U.S. 41 in St. John. A soft opening will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 25.

The boutique carries brands such as Kut From the Kloth and M. Rena.

For more information, visit poppyandpleets.com.


An Ollie's Bargain Outlet will bring one of its "semi-lovely" stores to LaPorte, where it will sell "good stuff cheap" with a 30-day "no hard time" return guarantee.  

The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based retailer sells closeout merchandise, irregular items, discontinued products, liquidated goods, and overstock inventory of everything from flooring to food, sporting goods to housewares for "up to 70 percent less than the fancy stores." On a given day, it might carry assorted miscellany like K-Cups, graphic novels, paperback novels, Yankee Candles and Himalayan salt lamps.

Its LaPorte store will be located by Kroger supermarket in the Pine Lake Shopping Center.

The 36-year-old company, which has more than 270 locations and more than 5,000 employees across the country, offers customers a treasure hunt amid ever-changing merchandise with "witty, humorous in-store signage." The brand's marketing prominently features the bucktoothed, leather-skinned, white-haired, wide-lapelled Ollie character.

If you've got tips about new stores or restaurants anywhere in the Region, or just wonder what's under construction somewhere, contact NWI Business Ins and Outs columnist Joseph S. Pete at joseph.pete@nwi.com or 219.933.3316.