Matt Verde acknowledges that a few days before Christmas 2020 may not have been the best time to open a new restaurant.
But, as Verde describes it, his new establishment, 113 Main in Oswego, was more about meeting a need in his own neighborhood than about rolling the dice.
“Oswego’s been needing and wanting a new independent restaurant for some time,” says Verde. “We knew that.
“And we’ve been really well received.”
Since that opening in the closing days of 2020, the restaurant, located at — you guessed it — 113 Main St., has generated a lot of buzz for itself and the rapidly transforming downtown in just a few short weeks.
Partnering with Mike Mann and Rick Tollefson of Yorkville’s Imperial Investments, Verde describes 113 Main’s concept as “unique but approachable, American cuisine in an open-air, warehouse-like setting.”
The building features accents of rich wood and brick throughout. And the wall facing Main Street is outfitted with three large, garage-door style windows that can be raised when the weather permits, creating a patio-like ambiance on warm evenings.
113 Main’s star attraction, however, is the menu. Crafted and curated with executive chef Terry Kaminski, the food lineup features a range of creative appetizers, entrees, soups, salads and sandwiches, all prepared from scratch.
Verde says standout items on the menu include appetizers like short rib poutine (French fries and cheese curds, topped with gravy, scallions and short rib) and steamed buns (think crispy chicken, cucumber, carrot, onion, gochujang, cilantro and sesame). Entrees include ribeye steaks, scallops, salmon and pork chops.
Those in the mood for finger foods can opt for a selection of handmade burgers (the popular 113 Burger features a pepper-crusted patty, applewood smoked bacon, blue cheese and a roasted garlic aioli); a roster of specialty tacos; or a lineup of sandwiches, including a lobster and crab cake, blackened mahi or buttermilk chicken sandwich, among others.
For sides, you’ve got the choice of truffle fries, fried asparagus, crispy sprouts with bacon and soy ginger, four-cheese macaroni and cheese, loaded mashed potatoes or green beans.
If you’re hoping to try one of Verde’s favorite items, go for the scallops, buttermilk chicken sandwich or the steak frites.
The menu is complemented by the restaurant’s array of craft cocktails and list of craft beers. Many selections list come from other craft breweries in the Chicagoland market, Verde says.
But the item that takes the top spot? 113 Main’s Old-Fashioned. “On our lineup? That’s the winner, if I have to choose,” he says, laughing.
Opening 113 Main has been in the works since 2019, according to Verde, who has been in the restaurant business for 25 years and has for years operated a restaurant in Westmont.
After living in Oswego for the last 10 years, Verde says he believed it was time to bring his latest concept to life in his own backyard. He and his partners have also doubled down on their investment in the community by redeveloping the site of Oswego’s former Dairy Hut ice cream shop, now the Dairy Barn.
July 2020 was the date 113 Main had been expected to open, but the pandemic delayed the opening by six months. While public health restrictions imposed by the state remained in place, Verde says they believed they needed to move forward. “Construction was finished. We had hired our staff back in September. Everything just kind of came to a head,” he says. “We believed the time was right to open the doors.”
The restaurant now employs 50 people. It can seat 150 people when full and under normal operating conditions. Capacity is reduced to abide by public health recommendations, Verde says.
“It wasn’t all ideal,” he adds. “But we’ve been very well received, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone in this spring and summer, and beyond.”
Editor’s note: This story originally appeared on P. 18-19 of the spring issue of Kendall County Magazine.
113 Main St., Oswego