In the Neighborhood Deli and Café owner Jeff Turner isn't sad about closing the doors on his North Edison Avenue restaurant because it marks a new beginning for him and the Elgin business.
"It is a good thing, it is a very positive move," Turner said. "We want to send a message this isn't a negative thing. It is centralizing and focusing my efforts on the bigger picture."
Turner is joining forces with Kevin Echevarria, of Dream Hub and Shared Dream Kitchen, to form a new corporation, Dream Foods. The two are combining Turner's expertise in the restaurant industry and Echevarria's entrepreneurial experience, Turner said.
"We are enhancing and curating food experiences through our network of food system services," Echevarria said.
The Dream Foods network includes collaborations with Shared Dream Kitchen, a food service incubator space, and Dream Distributors, a produce distribution hub for Kane County growers, Turner said. All will operate out of Dream Hall at 51, a food hall set to open on Grove Avenue in downtown Elgin this spring. The food hall will feature pop-up or kiosk restaurants every month and popular items In the Neighborhood Deli made, he said.
Dream Foods also will open In the Neighborhood Dream Deli and Cafe at Elgin's Gail Borden Public Library, Turner said.
The café space and kitchen at the library are being remodeled with an opening date expected by late January or early Febraury, he said. Panini sandwiches, homemade soups, pasta salads, green salads and fresh baked goods will be on the menu.
"Everything you were able to get at In the Neighborhood Deli you can now get in the library, and more," Turner said. "We are locally sourcing baked goods and will have vegan and gluten-free and more variety."
Dream Foods also will work with local new food businesses to help build their brand and get their produce or products to the market, he said.
While it is exciting to grow a business, there are many things a new business owner may not know, such as what city permits are required and how to develop a logo and market a business, Turner said. The new corporation will have all of those services integrated in one place.
"It's kind of a one-stop shop. We have people in place who will address every one of those issues that arise from growing your business," he said.
Turner has known Echevarria for 10 years and the two have talked about working together, Turner said.
Dream Foods brings together both Turner and Echevarria's strengths, he said.
"Kevin has the entrepreneurship locked in, I have the community locked in," Turner said.
Turner has organized Elgin's community Thanksgiving Meal and Valentine's Day weekend "Have a Heart Dinner" for the past several years. He has also organized a community Christmas dinner and a summer cookout open to the community. He hopes the new business opportunity will allow him to expand and hold more community dinners.
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