Papa G’s closes its doors

By on October 4, 2013

ELBURN—After nearly 15 years in business in Elburn, Papa G’s restaurant has closed its doors.

A spacious restaurant with a wide variety of choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Papa G’s had been a staple in downtown Elburn since the late 1990’s.

“Business was slow,” owner George Kanakaris said. “Food expenses went up, payroll and taxes got high. You can only raise your prices so high.”

The restaurant served its last customers on Sept. 22. A number of would-be diners who showed up on Monday found the restaurant’s doors locked and no one in the building.

Kanakaris called the village of Elburn on Sept. 23 to request a final water meter reading.

Kanakaris said he plans to open a new restaurant in Campton Hills, where Milano’s Ristorante Italiano used to be, at 40W188 Campton Crossings Drive. He said the space is half the size of Papa G’s. The new restaurant will be a sports bar, and the menu will be much more limited.

As for the future of Papa G’s, Kanakaris said he doesn’t know. Over the last several years, he has attempted to sell the business, but it has not worked out. He said that one potential buyer couldn’t get the financing, and another didn’t offer him enough money to make it worth his while. He said he finally gave the restaurant back to the bank.

Kanakaris and his family have worked in the restaurant business for years. In addition to the Elburn location, he had also owned the Papa G’s in Huntley, Ill., which is now under new ownership. He and his son, Niko, had also owned the former Niko’s Lodge on Route 64, north of Elburn, and Niko’s restaurant in Huntley. Niko’s Lodge is now under new ownership, and has been renamed The Lodge. Niko’s in Huntley closed several years ago.

Elburn building commissioner Tom Brennan said that a man came to the Village Hall several weeks ago to ask what building permits would be needed to make some cosmetic changes to the Papa G’s building. The man said he was buying the property and would be reopening the restaurant in a couple of weeks or so. He also asked about putting up a new sign.

Brennan said he did not give his name, and he has not yet been back again. Brennan said he would need to set up a new water account with the village and, if he is to serve liquor, would need to apply to the president for a new liquor license.