ST. CHARLES – The downtown St. Charles restaurant at 1 W. Illinois St.,Suite 170, is changing its ownership and motif, while retaining much of its name.
Owner Marwan Taib recently sold Charleston on the River to Rawan Alhalabi and her husband, Omar Musfi, who will serve upscale Mediterranean food at the rechristened Eden on the River, with a target opening date of Oct. 1.
“It was a perfect fit for us because of the patio, the layout of the restaurant,” Musfi said. “I mean, St. Charles is a good fit for us. The community, the people and basically the demand for that type of food.”
Musfi and Alhalabi heard Taib deliver similar refrains about the spot throughout the sale. Opened in early 2016, Charleston on the River sold cocktails and modern American fare, while its staff fostered a friendship with regulars and first-timers alike.
What Taib called “a great offer” from the Eden group beckoned, as did the opportunity for Taib to explore a regional franchising opportunity for a potential expansion of his other St. Charles property, Spotted Fox Ale House, 3615 E. Main St.
Taib said he has been advancing through discussions with officials from New York-based real estate investment company Rouse Properties LLC about bringing Spotted Fox 2 locations to various Midwestern shopping malls.
Taib expressed appreciation to the community and Charleston on the River clientele.
“We have great memories,” Taib said. “We have met some amazing people, and we have fed so many families and met so many wonderful people in this town. … We want to thank everybody who was part of it, from staff to regulars. … I think we had an amazing run. We built a great concept.”
Eden on the River will begin by serving dinner only, planning to add lunch later. The restaurant also will offer a bar with standard cocktails and wine, while “bringing something new,” such as Mediterranean wine from Turkey, Greece, Lebanon and Israel, Musfi said.
Similarly, diners should expect traditional Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare, such as kebabs, lamb and baba ganoush, as well as some innovative offerings. Eden on the River’s initial hours will be follows, Musfi said: 4 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday; and closed on Monday.
Entertainment, including Greek, Arabic and Flamenco music, along with Latin jazz, is planned on Friday and Saturday nights from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m.
“It’s not club music; it’s kind of world music,” Musfi said.
Musfi and Alhalabi live in Sycamore. This summer, their eight-year-old DeKalb business, Mediterraneo Grill, was demolished with two others on East Lincoln Highway as construction begins on a four-story apartment complex with commercial businesses operating on the ground floor.