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Family restaurant opening soon in former Jack & Jill in Coal Valley
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Family restaurant opening soon in former Jack & Jill in Coal Valley

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Coal Valley is getting another new restaurant soon.

It’s located in the old Jack & Jill Grocery building, 201- West 2nd Ave, Coal Valley, behind Blackhawk Bank & Trust building and will offer plenty of parking.

It’s a family restaurant serving breakfast and lunch for now, according to Ellie Benedict, the manager who had the idea and is more or less is part of the building owner’s Bryan Bealer’s family already anyway.

According to Benedict, Brandon Bealer, the son of the revamped building’s owner, is her partner and father of their two young kids.

She’s calling the restaurant Mama B’s Cafe in honor of all the moms in the Bealer family,

And she’s definitely got some major plans for the 1500-square foot restaurant that plans to open in late November.

Among them are 10-12 tables of four, a children’s play area, two drive-through windows, curbside pickup, an osmosis machine for top flight water for making coffee, coffee delivery, Belgium Village Sandwiches and more.

“Things are coming together, but it's like everything is all happening at once or waiting on the step ahead of it to happen,” explained Benedict. “So I am hoping we can be open in one month.”

The idea for the restaurant is mainly her’s. And the former licensed cosmetologist has some cooking in her family’s gene pool, too. Her grandparents, John and Laura Benedict, were the owners of Benny’s Pizza in Milan.

Her own passion for cooking came to light from caring for her and Brandon’s two kids -- Benny, 21/2, and Izzie, 11/2.

“After they were born, the passion in food sparked in me even more,” Ellie said. “Just knowing where their food comes from, feeding them whole ingredients, and from my family, I have always been the one who makes all the big dinners.”

The owners of the building are Bryan and Beth, Brandon’s parents.

“I am the one in charge, the manager, the operator,”Ellie Benedict said. “It was kind of my idea.

They had bought this building and redid it.This will be the first business going in. they redid it and had this spot.”

Ellie has always enjoyed cooking, so taking the next step was a natural for her.

“This has kind of been a passion of mine my whole life,” she said. “My grandparents owned Benny’s Pizza in Milan. It kind of just sparked an interest in me.Originally, I am a licensed cosmetologist. Since having kids I have kind of given that up and started following my true passion, which is food. It just kind of worked out.”

There’s lots still to be done but Benedict seems up for it.

“This has kind of been a passion of mine my whole life,” she said. “They had a spot and I had an idea. And we’ve just kind of taken off and run with it,” she said “It’s something that this community needs.”

She clearly does not want people waiting around for service. “It will be kind of a quick-service restaurant, but trying to focus on having as much local produce, eggs and meat.”

The menu won’t be lavish.

“For now, it’s going to be breakfast sandwiches, bagel sandwiches, pastries,” added Benedict. “We have a few local girls who are going to do cookies and bagels, cinnamon rolls and things like that. All things that you come to the drive through and get or come inside and get -- sit down, more of a quick service thing.

“We will have Belgium Village Sandwiches.We will be purchasing their sandwiches wholesale from them. We are going to start with 2-3 different reubens, and their Vande Raisin sandwich. And grill them up in house or have the possibility of you picking one up and taking one home and grilling it. They will be made and packaged for you and you will just have to heat it.”

Benedict wants the restaurant to be for all types, including someone wanting to go there and work a little.

“You can work on your computer or come with your children or come with a party of four-plus,” she said, noting COVID-19 can affect what they can do for the time being.”Wiithout COVID, you could come in with a decent size party. We do have a pretty huge dining area. Some is taken up by the kids area but we will still have quite a bit of seating.

It canj ust be somewhere you can come by yourself, no matter what age, But also somewhere you can come and bring your kids, bring your family, and just know you are going to get a good, healthy, quick bite to eat that is convenient to this community and what people are doing with their busy lives.”

The decor will be a mixed bag.

“The outside of the building is kind of industrial/ farmhouse,” she said. “We have that going on on the inside too. We have all open ceilings.and all our heating and air down, so it looks pretty industrial.”

She and Brandon recently stained all the concrete floors by hand, and the chairs will be an assortment of colors.

Eventually family pictures and pictures of the old Coal Valley will adorn the walls, including pictures of old coal mines and other pictures that reflect the village’s history.

Also, “a few local artists will have shelves here to sell handmade things or antiques. Kind of just a melting pot for anything local.” Benedict said.

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