It has taken more than a year since closing their doors in Oak Park, but the owners of Thyme and Honey restaurant served their first customers today at their new location on Madison Street.
For months the Nicolau family struggled to settle on a design for their new restaurant and went through several contractors in the process, but manager Chris Nicolau said his family is excited to be open for business. Thyme and Honey was scheduled to open its doors on Wednesday, June 20. Patrons familiar with the restaurant’s offerings at its former location in Oak Park will see many similarities in the menu, Nicolau said, but the ambience and feel of the dining area is quite different.
The new floor plan at Thyme and Honey is open, brighter and slightly more modern, Nicolau said. In the 11 years the business was located in Oak Park, the eatery was separated into three separate dining areas. Food choices continue to emphasize breakfast and lunch, but the proprietors are hoping their dinner service catches on as well.
“We like to appeal to a broad market,” Nicolau said. “We didn’t want to lock ourselves into a specific niche.”
Menu options range from roughly $4 to $17.
The restaurant occupies a space in the 7500 block of Madison Street that formerly housed a corporate headquarters for Charter One Bank. Thyme and Honey was forced out of its original location on South Oak Park Avenue in the neighboring community in early 2006 when the property was sold to make way for a condo development. Site work on that project is yet to begin in earnest, still.
“That was a pretty difficult time for us,” Nicolau said. “We decided to come to Forest Park. It’s a pretty exciting place for small businesses.”
Mayor Anthony Calderone said there is certainly a buzz in the business community here that is attractive to prospective entrepreneurs. Even without a single full-time staff member at village hall devoted to economic development, Calderone said Forest Park has been well served by a strong relationship between the municipality and several business groups. In recent years, the village has managed to lure handfuls of employers from other neighboring communities.
“We’ve worked together in a very good way,” Calderone said. “Madison Street has had a sense of excitement for a long time.”