If you drive Route 71 by Route 34, you’ve probably seen the sign announcing a new eatery in the former home of Tuscany Restaurant.
It’s called Villa Nova, and according to owner Kevin Parrott, it’s an American-style bar and grill. The Oswego restaurant, at 4092 Route 71, will actually be called Villa Nova II – the original is in Mattoon, about 160 miles south, and it’s been open for about two and a half years, Parrott said.
But Parrott is actually from this area – he grew up in Joliet, he said, and would often visit Oswego. During his boyhood days, some 40 years ago, he would come to the Oswego Raceway, in the middle of what was then a small little village.
So when he was looking for a spot to open another restaurant, he turned to Oswego. And he was surprised to discover that the little village had grown to more than 30,000 people.
“They’ve really grown,” he said. “It’s amazing what they’ve done.”
Parrott also liked the building he’ll be moving into. Villa Nova, he said, will offer traditional bar and grill food, like burgers, chicken wings and chicken fingers, and steak sandwiches. The restaurant will open for lunch at 11 a.m. seven days a week, and stay open until 1 a.m. six of those days, and 2 a.m. on Saturdays.
And if he can get some willing participants, he said, he may try some karaoke, which is a big hit for him in Mattoon.
This will be Parrott’s second stab at expanding the Villa Nova brand. In 2011, he opened a second location in nearby Charleston, but closed it seven months later, due to heavy competition, according to this Daily Eastern News report.
Parrott said he’s hoping to be open by the middle of August, provided his liquor license is approved. He’s currently hiring experienced bartenders, waiters and cooks – call him in Mattoon at 217-235-7720.