Richard Wilkinson wants Gaetano’s Vault in Streator to be a destination restaurant.
The Streator City Council approved an agreement with Edge Property Management, LLC, which is owned by Wilkinson, to allow for a $30,000 reimbursement for costs related to the construction of an outdoor patio area proposed for the building at 200 E. Main St.
Wilkinson is restoring the former Union Bank building at the corner of Park and Main streets to be a restaurant with a 1930s theme.
“This is going to be a unique project,” Wilkinson told the Streator City Council on Wednesday. “This is going to be something you’d see somewhere in New York or Chicago area.”
Wilkinson’s plan is to create an outdoor area that can host 80 to 100 people, including a drive-in movie mural that will feature a functioning movie screen for events. The overall cost of the area is estimated at more than $135,000, which is on top of the renovations costs Wilkinson has already put into the building.
Wilkinson said the interior of the building is 90% complete and he invited the City Council to take a tour, noting the old bank vaults are part of the features of the restaurant.
He called the restaurant a passion project, saying he wants to give back to his hometown by creating a tourist destination for travelers, including those going to Starved Rock State Park.
“If we have one or two unique places to see, it will bring visitors,” he said.
Wilkinson praised the city administration for working with him on the project and said he is impressed with the downtown’s improvements.
“Streator’s Main Street is coming back to life,” he said. “It’s an impressive thing.”