JOLIET – The manager of Tin Roof, the downtown's newest restaurant, believes farm fresh food and craft cocktails are just the ticket to attract a lot of cool cats.
Tin Roof, 158 N. Chicago St., formerly Nardi's on Chicago, opened its doors August 1, 2014 with a new menu and a new attitude, Brian Florczak said.
"Downtown Joliet was a booming area 40 years ago, and I don't know why it can't be again," Florczak said. "All it takes is a little art, music and food to take over and reestablish it."
Tin Roof focuses on local, seasonal fare, Florczak said. All its produce comes from Channahon, while its meat is produced at farms within 250 miles.
"It's really nice to be able to offer grass-fed beef and local produce," Florczak said. "It's like you're giving back to the area.
The restaurant offers various starters, salads, sandwiches and plates. Florczak said his most popular dishes include:
• Mahi Tacos, topped with mango pico, cilantro, queso fresco and pickled cabbage;
• The Gavel, a sandwich featuring blackened chicken with grilled onions, red peppers, roasted tomatoes and Monterey Jack cheese; and
• Farmers Pasta, a blend of sauteed seasonal vegetables with crushed red pepper, basil, garlic, olive oil and Parmesan cheese.
Bacon is a common theme in many Tin Roof dishes, from Deep Fried Bacon, to a BLTAC (a BLT with avocado and cucumber), and a caramelized bacon ice cream.
"I don't believe any of us can ever have enough bacon," Florczak said.
The restaurant is Florczak's first, though he's worked in the industry for several years. His menu inspiration came from wanting to showcase foods he cooked for his own family and providing items not found in other local restaurants.
"The last thing I wanted to do is open another Italian restaurant, or try to compete with places like Al's or Truth," he said.
The restaurant maintains a full bar up front, as it did during early iterations as Nardi's, Thayer's 158 North and Barolo's, with a dining area in back and additional room downstairs. The building features limited outdoor seating under a new metal awning.
The bar features craft cocktails with fresh ingredients, including homemade bitters and syrups, Florczak said.