Geno Francione had always wanted to open a restaurant after he retired. An opportunity came along that moved that goal up a few years.
Last week, he and his son, Nick, opened Nick and Geno’s on the River at the South Shore Boat Club, 2380 Water St., Peru.
“The boat club kitchen became available and I said, ‘You know what why not?’ and I jumped with both feet,” he said. “It’s a little bit of a risk, but we had a great opening week. It went very well.”
The restaurant offers appetizers, sandwiches, pasta, sides and kids meals. It specializes in authentic Chicago-style Italian beef. Another popular dish is an appetizer, the twisted manicotti. It’s three cheese-stuffed sleeves of pasta breaded and twisted in their signature seasonings. All seasonings are organic and delivered from Washington weekly.
Geno said he’s been making these secret family recipes for years. His sausage recipe came from Sicily and they have a processor in Chicago who makes it in bulk for the Peru restaurant.
Geno, who is a member of the club, and his son got the restaurant up and running in three weeks, he said. Tony’s Butt Shack moved out around Oct. 23 and in that time they presented their business plan to the club’s board, got its approval and finalized the menu, among other tasks.
“We’re a start-up business. Something I’ve wanted to do my whole life,” he said. “My son Nick is probably the biggest catalyst behind this. I’m the cook and he’s the brains.”
Nick and Geno’s on the River is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, search Facebook for their business’ page.
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