Gino’s Aims for Merrillville

April 24, 2008
Post-Tribune Business

Steakhouse in Dyer to open second outlet at
old LoneStar site on U.S. 30.

     Independently owned Gino’s Steakhouse in Dyer will open a second location this summer in Merrillville. The owners closed on Friday on the former LoneStar Steakhouse building along U.S. Highway 30, according to Todd Elliott of Commercial In-Sites in Merrillville. The property sold for $1.28 million and included a three-way liquor license.

     Dean Frangos, who owns the Gino’s with his father, Tom, said they had been looking to expand the successful Gino’s brand. The Dyer restaurant opened in 2004, is undergoing a renovation and addition that will add about 80 seats.

     There is a high concentration of franchise and chain restaurants along the Merrillville and Hobart restaurant row. He said the area was in need of more independent fine dining opportunities like Gino’s.

      “I think what we have is totally different to a franchise. You can’t compare it to a franchise,” Frangos said.

     Howard Fink, Merrillville Community Development Director, said officials are excited to see a new restaurant after seeing a number of vacancies there.

     The former Buffalo Wild Wings and Smokey Bones Barbecue properties are on the market. An Arby’s in the same stretch is also vacant.

     Cosmetic changes including a new entrance and new contemporary interior are planned. There will be no structural changes to the 5,300 square foot building, which was rebuilt just a year ago following a fire.

     Carol Guess Associates in Chicago will design the new restaurant. Frangos said the agency also designed the Paragon restaurants, in which he and his father are partners.

     The new location will seat around 180 patrons and employ about 60 full and part-time workers.

     The Frangos plan to bring aboard long-time Paragon chef Pete Papamihalakis as a partner. Papamihalakis has been with the Paragon for about 30 years. There are also two additional partners in the new venture.

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