Elsberry plans restaurant in downtown Janesville

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Jim Leute
Tuesday, May 13, 2014

JANESVILLE—Jim Elsberry says he has the experience, the menu and the location for a fine dining supper club in downtown Janesville.

Now all he needs is a name for the restaurant he plans to open in June at 12 S. Main St., the former home of Aglio Ristorante.

“It will have a little bit of a darker feel, like the 1970s-era supper club that we used to have in the good ol' days,” Elsberry said. “I'm still throwing a couple of names around. It's going to have a 'Rat Pack' theme.”

Elsberry is well known on the local restaurant scene. Until earlier this year, he owned Pit Stop BBQ & Deli at One Parker Place in Janesville. He also owns Elsberry Edibles, a catering company he said is busier than ever.

Elsberry said he would lease the Main Street location, which seats 65 diners.

Earlier this month, Aglio moved into a much larger location at 19 N. High St., the former home of the Speakeasy.

“I'm in love with the downtown, and I really think it can work,” Elsberry said, adding his menu will feature steaks, seafood and chicken, plus a variety of supper club-style cocktails and appetizers.

“I think Janesville has changed, and people are looking for higher-end types of dining experiences,” he said, noting many local residents often travel out of town for just that type of meal.

“This is going to work because I'll have a fantastic menu and me doing the food with all my own recipes,” he said. “Everything will be fresh, homemade … food that you can't get anyplace else.

“In Janesville, there really isn't any place that does a decent fish fry, has prime rib on Saturday night and a Sunday brunch. There's a need for that, and we're going to do it out of the gate.”

Elsberry has more than 30 years in the food service industry. He has been the executive chef for five-star hotels in the region and has catered for events such as the Governor's Inaugural Ball, Jeff Smith of the Frugal Gourmet and the rock band Kansas.

He said he is in the process of hiring a staff for the new restaurant.

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