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Niko's Closes its Doors, Seeks to Rent Out Space

Owners close location, opening new restaurant in Algonquin.

Stephanie Preskar arrived at  on Thursday evening to meet friends for dinner.

She sat in her car not sure why the restaurant was closed.

“We come here to meet and talk, the food was good and they had big portions,” the Crystal Lake woman said.

While the Niko’s sign remained lit up, another sign a few feet away told the story.

Owner Niko Kanakaris closed down the restaurant Sunday and put a “for lease” sign near the driveway. The restaurant, at 11900 Freeman Road, opened in 2004.

“It was a good eight years, then the economy slowed it down and that large restaurant needed a certain amount of volume to keep open,” he said. “The volume wasn’t there, so we needed to make a move.”

Kanakaris and his family are renovating the former Barley House in Algonquin to create Niko’s Lodge. He hopes to have it open by December. The family owns six other restaurants including the Thirsty Whale in Algonquin, the Red Mill in Woodstock and the Red Ox Inn in Hampshire, which was his first restaurant.

Niko’s staff has been moved to other restaurants, including the Pinecrest Restaurant, which the family operates.  owns Pinecrest.

“Thank you to all the loyal customers in Huntley who supported us all those years,” Kanakaris said.

Leaving Huntley is hard for Kanakaris, who is also a Huntley trustee.

“This is my town,” he said. “This is where I grew up and this is where I live. It’s sad; but again, you have to make a business decision. If the volume isn’t there, you have to make a move and move on.”

Algonquin should have more traffic and the family got a great deal on the space, he said.

Kanakaris and his father, George, own the land on Freeman Road and will be looking for a tenant. They hope to find one who can bring a national chain to Huntley, Niko Kanakaris said. But the location will be marketed to many restaurants, he said.

The location will be a hot spot once the Route 47 and Interstate 90 full interchange is built, he said. He anticipates there will be lots of development once that project is completed.

Carol October 07, 2011 at 04:09 PM
So sorry that Niko's is leaving. Had some great meal there. If they want a national chain, how about Cracker Barrel? When Huntley gets the full tollway interchange, this could be an ideal location. Good luck to the family. carol
Rob October 07, 2011 at 04:34 PM
When the interchange is completed, that area will boom! A national chain would be a nice addition for travelers. The Kanakaris family does a great job and I am looking forward to the Lodge being open just in time for Christmas and New Years Parties. Rob
Gloria Casas October 07, 2011 at 08:04 PM
Patch does not allow personal attacks in the comment section. A comment under a story about Niko's Bar and Grill violated this policy and has been removed. Thank you.
Bill Crosby October 08, 2011 at 05:28 AM
It was not personal / it was the truth.
Thomas Morehead October 08, 2011 at 09:37 AM
Smart move, I agree people spend more volume/money in Algonquin than Huntley

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