A partnership that operates five video gambling cafes in central Illinois is working toward opening at least four additional sites in the metro-east.
Phil Thebeau of Edwardsville and Keith Rentschler of St. Louis, who are a co-owners of Fork Restaurant Group, LLC, confirmed Friday the plans to operate the Ruby’s locations in unincorporated Belleville, Swansea, Fairview Heights and Waterloo.
Thebeau and Rentschler will operate the metro-east cafes with partners Dick Logue of Argenta and Jesse Seery of Eugene, Ore.
“The No. 1 reason we’re expanding to the area is two of the partners reside here,” Rentschler said. “It’s right in our backyards.”
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The Belleville cafe will open at 3030 Frank Scott Parkway. Renovation at that site is nearly complete. Video game retailer and trading post Gamez Unleashed previously occupied the space, but the business recently closed.
The Swansea location is under renovation at 2708 N. Illinois St., across the street from Rural King. Randy Tedesco, Swansea’s deputy code administrator, said no special use hearing was needed to allow the planned Swansea parlor to operate at its intended location because the zoning there already allowed for it.
The No. 1 reason we’re expanding to the area is two of the partners reside here. It’s right in our backyards
Keith Rentschler, part owner of Fork Restaurant Group, LLC, which operates the Ruby’s cafes
The Fairview Heights parlor will be located at 4652 N. Illinois St. in a suite next door to the south of Zapata’s Mexican Restaurant’s new location. Rentschler said renovation at that site will begin soon.
Renovation is under way at the Waterloo site, he said.
In addition to video gaming terminals, Ruby’s cafes also offer snacks, pastries and light meals. Beverages served include sodas, teas, coffees, wines and beers.
“We’re excited to be opening up. We hope to have them open pretty close to the same time” in the late spring or summer, Rentschler said.
Rentschler added that plans are in the works to eventually expand into the Alton area as well.
“We’re excited. We will be the premiere gaming cafe in the metro-east marketplace,” he said. “Food, drinks, entertainment all in a classy and upscale environment.”
Rentschler, Thebeau and the other partners also operate three Ruby’s cafes in Decatur, one in Champaign and one in Urbana.