CRYSTAL LAKE – Archie Soulidis took a slice of the city's financial pie to help make his pizza dream a reality.
The Crystal Lake City Council approved a $10,000 grant Tuesday to help launch a new pizza place in the Crystal Point Shopping Center. Soulidis will use the money to help buy furniture and kitchen equipment and hire employees for his Greek's Pizzeria restaurant slated to open at the former Wild Orchid Thai Bistro next to Best Buy on Northwest Highway.
The city's contribution will come from its Retailer Job Creation & Investment Matching Grant fund, which has $80,000 budgeted for retailer assistance. Dream Gowns Bridal and Kitchen Outfitters were previously awarded $10,000 for projects, while ABC Supply Company was granted $20,000 because of its manufacturer status.
Mayor Aaron Shepley said it was great to see a business revive a vacant space and was confident Soulidis would succeed as word has already spread throughout the chamber of commerce and other businesses about the new restaurant.
"You're already well on your way to being successful in Crystal Lake if word of mouth means anything," Shepley said. "Because word is out there."
Soulidis estimated he would spend roughly $31,300 on furniture and equipment to improve the 2,432-square-foot space and would hire four full-time employees and seven part-time workers for the restaurant.
The menu is expected to feature gourmet pizzas, garlic butter breadsticks, calzones, gyro sandwiches, salads, beer and wine.
Soulidis, who previously opened a diner in Ohio when he was 21, said the opportunity was a dream come true.
"I've always wanted to be in the pizza business," he said. "I'm Greek, what do you expect?"
The Crystal Lake location will be the first Greek's Pizzeria to operate outside of Indiana. The restaurant started in Indiana in 1969 and was franchised in the 1990s. There are 14 locations in Indiana.