It’s a total gut job.
When the former home to Applebee’s opens later this fall, locals might not recognize the Fairview Heights building.
New seating, fresh paint, new floors and mosaic tile will transform the former home of Applebee’s into a Mexican restaurant with a new look and a new vibe.
Rio Grande is expected to open this fall, Rafael Onale and his partners confirmed Tuesday.
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The opening comes more than two years after Applebee’s Bar and Grill suddenly closed in 2016.
A large white “coming soon” sign, construction tape and new pavement in the parking lot show signs of progress outside.
Inside, new tile work around the bar, new floors and custom made seating are transforming the restaurant into food and drink destination again.
The restaurant located at 47 Ludwig Drive isn’t the only new establishment coming to the area soon.
Next door Juicy Crab, located at 51 Ludwig Drive, could open as soon as November, owner Jack Chan said. His restaurant, previously occupied by Joe’s Crab Shack, will offer Cajun-style crab, calamari, fish and chips, and more.