There’s an old saying in the business world: When there’s blood on the streets, buy real estate.
The idea, of course, is to view difficult times as opportunities to expand while others are timid.
Well, if anyone can claim to have embraced that notion, it’s Bob Karas of Karas Restaurant Group, who announced today that it is taking over the venerable music venue The RocHaus in West Dundee and reimagining it as “Rookies RocHaus.”
“We will continue the legacy left behind by Kevin Krak in this landmark building with great music and many other entertainment options,” the Karas Group announced in a Facebook post. “In the future, we will be expanding offerings by adding more days of operation, some small plate food offerings, signature drinks and other entertainment options such as local music, comedy, sports, video gaming and more! Looking forward to working industry vet ”Bad boy” Bob Cozza and seeing his magic touch on the music scene.”
The group also plans to offer the venue for weddings, Christmas parties and other events.
The Karas Restaurant Group continues to expand even in the teeth of COVID and a post-COVID labor shortage that is plaguing other restaurants around the county. In just past few years it has added to its Village Squire and Rookies chains, and is about to open its 8th Rookies (including Rookies RocHaus) in Crystal Lake shortly. In total, the group owns either completely or partially 8 Rookies All American Bar & Grills, 4 Village Squire restaurants, 2 Alexander’s Cafe’s and The Old Republic Kitchen + Bar in Elgin.
The RocHaus, located at 96 West Main Street in West Dundee, has roots that go back over 100 years. In 1910, Lyman Andrews built The Crystal Theater, a live performance venue featuring popular vaudeville acts of the time. The original building included a small stage, seating for approximately 400 patrons on the main floor and a balcony that held 48 people. Rumor has it that during their vaudeville careers, the theater hosted the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Bob Hope and The Three Stooges.
After several changes and re-births over the years, in 2012 a local businessman purchased the vacant buildings which were in dire need of restoration and RocHaus was born. After an extensive two year interior and exterior renovation, the venue opened its doors to a sold out opening night featuring rock band Living Colour.