Metro-East News

Mungo’s is moving to Collinsville; Aldi will open Fairview Heights location soon

Mungo’s Italian Eatery is on the move — again

The popular metro-east restaurant in O’Fallon will move to Collinsville in May, the restaurant recently announced.
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The popular metro-east restaurant in O’Fallon will move to Collinsville in May, the restaurant recently announced.

Mungo’s Italian Eatery is moving locations again, this time the popular metro-east restaurant, housed in the Sunrise Center in O’Fallon near Marcus Theater, will relocate to Main Street in Collinsville in May.

“Our lease is coming up in May 2019 and we’re moving,” the restaurant recently announced.

Mungo’s will remain open during the move.

Collinsville City Manager Mitchell E. Bair said the restaurant has signed a five-year-lease at 100 E. Main St., the former Apex Building next to Friday’s South Bar and Grill.

“Mungo’s comes on the heels of the Old Herald Brewery which is performing at a greater rate than forecasted and is a unbelievable boost to the Uptown and the hospitality and tourism market for the City,” Bair wrote in an email Thursday. “This is just another huge win for our residents and the community.”

Owner Tony Mazzola said he’s looking forward to the move, even though he considered closing the restaurant before the opportunity to move to Collinsville came around.

“The only reward I have is when people tell me that they love my food,” Mazzola said. “But that’s not enough to keep us going.”

The restaurant needs foot traffic, customers and steady flow of business to survive, Mazzola said, explaining that a move to Collinsville made sense because of the “renaissance” going on there.

The move isn’t a first for Mungo’s.

Fans have followed the Italian eatery around throughout the years.

Mungo’s opened for the first time on July 7, 1983, in an old Arthur Treacher’s chain diner at 4417 W. Main St. in Belleville. In 1990, the eatery moved to 4 Club Centre Court in Edwardsville, then it moved to the old Barn restaurant off Hartman Lane later that same year.

Mazzola cut the ribbon at 1620 Lebanon Ave. in the Lake Christine Center in 1993, then in February 1996, Mazzola said he was closing the 7,000-square-foot facility and had no plans to ever open another restaurant.

But he couldn’t stay away from his passion.

In May 2003, Mazzola took over the old Frenchies Restaurant at 525 Lincoln Highway near Schnucks and once again satisfied eager Mungo’s fans until cutting the ribbon at 1334 Central Park Drive in O’Fallon on Feb. 3, 2015.

Aldi is expected to bring a new store location in Fairview Heights. The grocery store is expected to open early next year.

Aldi announces when it will open new Fairview Heights location

Fairview Heights grocery shoppers will soon have a new shop to try.

Aldi will open a store in the Lincoln Place Shopping Center on Thursday, Jan. 24, the company announced Wednesday. The store is taking over the former hhgregg building at 5925 N. Illinois St.

“The new location is part of a $3.4 billion investment to expand to 2,500 stores nationwide by the end of 2022,” Aldi officials wrote in a news release.

Construction work to convert the hhgregg space into a grocery store began last year. This will be the seventh Aldi grocery store in the metro-east.

Others are located in Granite City, Belleville, Cahokia, O’Fallon, Edwardsville and Collinsville.

The Fairview Heights store will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. The grand opening ceremony is scheduled for 8:25 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 24.

When you shop at Aldi, you rent a shopping cart for a quarter and bag your own groceries as a part of the company’s cost-saving measures.

The Gymboree children’s clothing store in St. Clair Square mall will close as part of the national retail chain’s bankruptcy, according to the company’s website. Gymboree filed for bankruptcy in June. Photo by Joseph Bustos

Crazy 8 clothing store at St. Clair Square could close amid bankruptcy plans

Gymboree Inc. is expected to file for bankruptcy and could close all remaining stores, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal published Sunday.

If legal proceedings move forward, this will be the company’s second time filing for bankruptcy in the last two years.

Gymboree filed for bankruptcy in June 2017 and closed 350 of the company’s stores, mainly across its Gymboree and Crazy 8 brands, in the United States and Canada.

About 900 stores remain, including a Crazy 8 location at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights.

The company, founded in 1976, also operates two other brands, including Crazy 8 and Janie and Jack. All brands would close amid bankruptcy plans.

If Crazy 8 closes, it will join a long list of merchants affected by the “retail apocalypse” in Fairview Heights. The Sears at St. Clair Square is set to close in March, the store’s parent company confirmed Dec. 28.

St. Louis-style pizza franchise eyes new location in Highland

One of St. Louis’ favorite pizza shops may be setting up shop in Highland.

A representative with Imo’s Pizza said Friday that the company is in the process of negotiating with the city in an effort to bring the St. Louis-based franchise to Highland.

At the city council’s last meeting, a special use permit was approved for 2625 Plaza Drive, where the proposed Imo’s Pizza would be located. The special use permit was requested by Jedna, LLC, on behalf of Frey Properties, a local real estate company.

A tanning salon previously was located in the lot.

The building described in the special use permit also would include a drive-thru, which Jedna LLC said in city filings will be used for pick up orders placed online or over the phone.

Imo’s Pizza has been a St. Louis staple since 1964. Currently, the company has roughly 90 restaurants with hopes for 100 by the end of 2019, according to the chain’s website.

Along with its famous thin-crust “St. Louis-style” pizza, Imo’s offers wings, sandwiches, salads, and pasta.

Staff writers Mike Koziatek and Kavahn Mansouri contributed to this report.