CROWN POINT — It’s going to be a busy year for retail in Crown Point as construction cones and bulldozers continue to pop up across the city to make way for new shops and restaurants.
“The atmosphere and culture of Crown Point is very exciting right now. With all we have done with our amenities and infrastructure, we are seeing people adding more commercial buildings, which attracts a lot of tourism,” Mayor David Uran said. “These new restaurants and shops in our commercial corridor will also encourage residents to stay active here.”
Collectively, between the housing and commercial corridor, more than $160 million of new investment came to the city last year, Uran said.
“As much as we complain about construction and traffic, vehicle traffic is important for business,” Uran said. “At the end of the day, we want to keep the tail lights from moving. We are employing more in our own city and these aren’t just fast-food joints. We have a lot of professional, good paying jobs coming to Crown Point.”
Eat and shop downtown
The grand opening of the newly renovated Crown Theatre is one of the most anticipated events happening on the Courthouse Square in downtown Crown Point this summer.
New owner Brad Strom will open the 102-year-old doors to the public from 7 to 11 p.m. July 20. The grand opening will include food and drinks along with live on stage entertainment by country music singer-songwriter David Nail, best known for his hits “Whatever She’s Got” and “Let it Rain.” General admission seating is $75.
“The feedback has been crazy and exciting all year. The excitement is now transitioning into sales and events. It’s become more of a reality,” said Strom, who acquired the keys to the theater a year ago.
“No matter how many times you come in here, or have in the past, you will find something different that will just make you go, ‘Wow!’ We really put a lot of time and thought into everything.”
Strom said the building required a complete restoration. Every aspect of the interior had to be torn down and replaced to meet safety and historical standards.
A multipurpose space was also added to the second floor of the building. It will be available to rent for private events.
The theater’s iconic marquee outside of the building also had to come down as it was deemed structurally unsafe to stand. Eventually, Strom said he would like to bring it or something similar back to the facade of the building.
“The building was in such poor condition from it being closed for so long. Every little thing needed to be replaced and it was a little overwhelming. We didn’t really have a blue print to go off of or any real record of work completed because it is so old. We started from scratch,” Strom said. “It’s taken a lot of time and hard work, but it’s looking really good.”
Crown Theatre’s grand opening kicks off its long list of events planned for the year, including concerts, screenings of movies like "The Sandlot," "Hocus Pocus" and "The Grinch” and other social events like a comedy night and disco night dance party.
“Diversity is so important and we really wanted to offer every type of music and entertainment. There won’t be anyone that can look at the list and not find something they are interested in,” Strom said.
Until then, Strom said there is plenty of construction work to be done inside with carpeting, electric and “cosmetics” to get the theater ready for the crowds.
Downtown is set to offer even more dining options in the near future, too.
Square Roots, a new restaurant serving upscale American fare, will be opening this spring in the former Barney's Hub Bootery store at 108 N. Main St. Hours and the grand opening are to be announced.
Square Roots menu offers a variety of options from smokehouse nachos and street tacos to burgers and craft pizzas.
“I think what sets Square Roots apart from other restaurants in the Region is the inspiration my staff and I bring into work every day. Our core concept for the food and drink menu at Square Roots is to show our guests that this is our passion. The food is honest, and is a lot of work to create, but we do it because we love it. Braising, smoking and brining are not quick processes, but it’s a labor of love,” head chef Matthew Griseta wrote in a post on restaurant’s website.
Owners are looking for employees to expand their team. Square Roots is currently hiring an assistant manager, shift leader, host, server, busser, bartender, barback, food runner, lead line cook, line cook, prep cook and a dishwasher. Applications are available at www.squarerootscp.com.
Another restaurant is under renovation next to the Crown Point Community Library at 116 N. Main St., said Crown Point City Planner Anthony Schlueter.
A name and opening date have not been announced yet, but the owners of the new restaurant, Jeff and Penny Holme, also own the Aurelio's Restaurant in Lowell that has been in business for two-plus decades.
The new establishment will focus on family-style fare with upscale options and will have menus varying with the seasons.
The owners of the restaurant are renovating the building to include the original 1926 hardwood floors, stained glass windows in the front, tin ceiling panels and clay tile and brick walls.
Businesses coming to Broadway
Business is booming along Broadway as the city's Beacon Hill commercial development continues to expand.
The three-unit commercial building at the corner of Summit Street and Broadway soon will house three new restaurants, including a Tomato Bar and Cousins Subs.
The Tomato Bar, with other locations in Valparaiso and Schererville, will open its doors this summer. Hours and the grand opening are to be announced.
The pizza joint offers monthly deals and specializes in "outside-the-box" pizzas like The Granny Shiftin', Not Double Clutchin’, which includes a barbecue sauce base, mozzarella and provolone mix, blackened ground beef, sautéed onions, serrano peppers, bleu cheese, ranch swirl with a dusting of blackened seasoning.
Cousins Subs, a Wisconsin-based, fast casual sub shop, is aiming for a July opening in Crown Point.
The location, which will include a drive-thru, will serve grilled-to-order East Coast-style deli sandwiches with sides ranging from fries and cheese curds to salads and soups.
"We've got a couple of other areas in Northwest Indiana that we are looking at," Cousins Subs Vice President of Development Joseph Ferguson said in a previous Times report. "There is the possibility there will be more."
Another three-unit building at 120 109th Ave., just north of Strack & Van Til, will house a Gloria Jean’s Coffee and a Marco’s pizza place.
Gloria Jean’s is slated to open in early June. The opening of Marco’s has not been announced yet.
Gloria Jean’s , which currently has a location in the Southlake Mall in Hobart, specializes in hot beverages and ice-blended chillers.
"As we pursue strategic growth outside of malls and move into regions where customer demand for exceptional specialty coffee is high, we see tremendous opportunity to introduce Gloria Jean’s to new guests around the country,” Laina Sullivan, Gloria Jean’s Coffees’ director of franchise development, said in a previous Times report.
Interior Image Group, or IIG, will be opening a new space next to Beacon Hill Dental, at 122 E. 107th Ave., by November, President and owner Patti Tritschler said.
IIG, with branch studios in Dyer and south Florida, specializes in full-service luxury hotels, designing guest rooms, restaurants and public spaces like lobbies.
“We have been committed to Northwest Indiana. One of my strong platforms for advocacy has been to embrace the local area that supports our business while also supporting those around us. Beacon Hill offers those opportunities,” Tritschler said.
Uran said a Starbucks, which is nearly complete in construction, along with the Community Stroke and Rehabilitation Center, a new addition to Community Healthcare System, also will be open on Broadway by early summer.
“Crown Point is a perfect climate for businesses to be very successful,” Uran said.