"Houlihan's is a spectacular company with great people," George Wight, a TAOH principal, said in an interview Friday.
The chain is undergoing a renaissance and is introducing a new restaurant prototype, he
The Crystal Lake location is likely to be at Crystal Creek Shopping Center at Miller and Randall roads, he
The center is now under development by Wight & Co.
, a Downers Grove-based architecture and construction firm owned by members of the Wight family. Wight & Co.
is also building a shopping center at 500 N. Hough St. in Barrington.
Houlihan's isn't TAOH's
only venture.It's also dipping its toe into other franchise waters, with DQ Grill & Chill restaurants and Sierra Suites hotels.
The three businesses can offer compatible uses on the same site, and won't cannibalize each other, Wight
The company has a DQ Grill & Chill franchise planned for Barrington or Crystal Lake this fall, and eventually plans to open 11 more in the area. Grill & Chill
is a new Dairy Queen concept without the bright red color and with a slate and stone décor and more extensive menu.The "fast casual" restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, gourmet coffees and traditional Dairy Queen favorites. TAOH
plans its first Sierra Suites location for either Vernon Hills or Itasca, but it is waiting until hotel-room market improves before making further moves, Wight
has formed close ties with Bob Hartnett, Houlihan's chief executive officer.They exchange e-mails and have dinner together when in the same city.
"We've become true friends," Wight
said of the relationship. Houlihan's
has had restaurants for an average of 20 years in Oak Brook, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Skokie
and Chicago.It hadn't added new Chicago-area sites for some time, however, Wight
said, and he
convinced Hartnett local advertising was necessary.
"I talked him into getting a hot-air balloon in the area," Wight
said.The "Houli Ballooli" will lift off from the Windy City balloon port in Fox River Grove periodically this summer.Wight
, a self-described "enthusiastic aviator," will be its pilot.