The hidden gem of Uptown is soon to take up the corner space on North and Broadway Street.
With sawdust flying and loud noises coming from Uptown Normal, the expansion on The Rock Restaurant is underway.
Located on North Street, The Rock has begun to take over the shop next door, which used to be a T-shirt store, to make their restaurant almost double in size.
Said Saliba, manager of The Rock, said that after being at the same location for three years, an expansion was necessary.
“We are very busy … everyday some customer can’t sit down because we are too small,” Saliba said.
One of the renovations included in The Rock project is adding more seats to the extended dining room. Saliba hopes to add 40 to 45 more spots for customers to sit.
“We are also expanding the kitchen. It will have more refrigeration, more food and more space for us,” Saliba said.
When almost duplicating the dining room, it is crucial to make the kitchen more spacious as well, he added.
The decision to start making the changes came in the beginning of the summer, Saliba said. As of now, The Rock’s renovation will be completed before Christmas —hopefully in October or November.
Upon completion, the restaurant will now be on both North and Broadway Streets, which Saliba hopes increases their visibility.
“The corner there is very reasonable, and even has a nice view,” he said.
“Everybody that comes through the walkway will see it, and everybody who knows The Rock will enjoy it.”
When it comes to the customers, Saliba wants to assure them neither the prices nor the menu will change.
In fact, The Rock features a plethora of different cuisines, and Saliba values their uniqueness. They serve a mix of Mediterranean food, American food and even offer a gluten-free menu. They are especially known for their burgers and gyros.
“We try to be unique and serve the best food in town with our menu,” he said. “I want to keep it the unique place that we already are.”
As the expansion continues, Saliba hopes the Normal community is as eager as he is for the final product.
“We are really looking forward to it, and hopefully everybody will enjoy it too,” he said.
The Rock Restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.