Naperville’s first Chick-fil-A, downtown Latin-inspired entertainment complex, 99 Ranch Market in the works

From the plans for a national fast food chain’s local debut to a multilevel entertainment complex — complete with dancing — Naperville’s business environment is bustling with the prospect of newcomers.

On Wednesday, a proposal to bring Chick-fil-A to town is going before the Naperville Planning and Zoning Commission.

Chick-fil-A, per plans filed with the city, is looking to build a new fast-food restaurant at 1159 E. Ogden Ave. While the chain has locations nearby — including spots at Aurora’s Fox Valley Mall, Bolingbrook, Wheaton and Oswego — it would be the first in Naperville, according to the company’s website.

Planning commissioners will consider a handful of requested variances the company needs to bring its plan to fruition. They include a pair of deviations from city code — one involving the bypass lane requirements and the other for signage — and a land use modification.

The proposed business would be part of the larger Iroquois Center, located north of East Ogden Avenue and west of Iroquois Avenue.

According to the meeting documents, 29,000 square feet of the 123,931-square-foot shopping center would be removed to accommodate the Chick-fil-A.

City staff have recommended that planning commissioners approve all but of the requests other than the sign deviation.

Dining, dancing and drinking

In downtown Naperville, a Latin-inspired, three-story entertainment complex is soon to open.

Filling the building that was previously home to The Craftsman, AltaVida is coming to 16 W. Jefferson Ave., across the street from Front Street Cantina.

Inspired by global Latin music, food, drink and dance, according to CEO Edwin Rios, the complex will be have three separate spaces: a casual Spanish cafe on the ground level; a second-floor dancehall and cocktail lounge; and a third level for events.

“(The idea) is to remove people from their daily routines and existences and bring them into a place that is … a global escape where they can get away,” Rios said.

AltaVida should open in about 30 days, he said.

New Asian restaurants

Three new Asian eateries are coming to Washington Street.

Ichiddo Ramen, offering Japanese fare, will be moving into 204 S. Washington St. later this year, taking over the space formerly occupied by La Borra Cafe, according to Christine Jeffries, president of the Naperville Development Partnership.

Based in Minnesota, Ichiddo Ramen has restaurants across the Midwest as well as in Florida and New York, according to its website. In Illinois, the only other location is in Evergreen Park.

In the same space, Matcha En — a Japanese dessert and drink shop — is expected to open sometime this year, Jeffries said. Matcha En currently has a location in Chicago. Its menu ranges from bubble tea to mochi.

Next door to Ichiddo and Matcha En, a Vietnamese restaurant is to open at 206 S. Washington St. Lotus Banh Mi Naperville is currently under construction and is looking to be operational by June, according to co-founder Dao Nguyen.

99 Ranch Market coming

Another incoming business Naperville residents can watch for is 99 Ranch Market, one of the largest Asian-American grocery store chains, Jeffries said.

The market will be taking over the building that, a decade ago, housed Dominick’s grocery store, Jeffries said. Dominick’s vacated its space at 1555 North Aurora Road, part of Naperville’s Riverbrook Shopping Center, after its parent company, Safeway, closed all Chicago-area stores.

Riverbrook bringing in 99 Ranch Market is part of a larger redevelopment project ongoing at the center, Jeffries said. Earlier this year, Houston-based developer NewQuest Asia-Pacific Retail announced it had acquired Riverbrook and planned to rebrand and completely renovate the center into a hub for Asian retailers and restaurateurs.

A grand opening is expected in 2025, NewQuest previously said.

Picklr grand opening

Saturday marks the grand opening of The Picklr, bringing nine new indoor pickleball courts to Naperville.

The 27,300-square-foot space is in Fox River Commons shopping center at 704 Route 59, the first of three Picklr locations coming to the Chicago area this year, a news release said.

The Naperville club also has a full pro shop, private event space, unlimited league play, tournaments and open play. Memberships are now available for $109 a month.

As part of its noon grand opening, professional pickleball player Tyler Loong will be in attendance for a “Play Against A Pro” event. There also will be food trucks, a DJ, a photo booth and giveaways.