GIBSON CITY – It’s possible Gibson City may get an early present from Santa this year—a new restaurant.
“Our goal is to be open by the end of the year,” said Burgers and Beer co-owner Scott Irps of the restaurant at 109 W. Eighth St., the former home of D.G. Sullivan’s. “We are going as fast as we can to get it open.”
The restaurant is the third for Irps and co-owners Brent and Jill Manau. Burgers and Beer got its start in Kankakee in 2013 and opened its second restaurant in South Wilmington a few months ago.
“Kankakee was hungry for a spot where someone could get a cold beer and a really good hamburger,” said Irps, who also owns and operates Country Chevrolet in Herscher with Brent Manau.
It was that auto business that brought them to Gibson City. The two sometimes work with Ron Woolums, of Bradbury Auto Sales, and during one conversation, Woolums asked Irps and Brent Manau to consider the former D.G. Sullivan’s location for a third restaurant.
“We looked at it after him begging us for weeks and weeks,” Irps said. “We thought it would be a good fit.”
Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce President Susie Tongate said that Burgers and Beer will fill a need in the community.
"I’m very excited to see any new business come into town," Tongate said. "I think it will fill a niche."
The Gibson City location will have the same menu as its other locations and will feature a variety of appetizers, burgers, sandwiches and Angus dogs.
While the owners already had other taverns when they opened their Kankakee location, they didn’t have a lot of experience with kitchens.
Each of the three came with a few ideas of what they wanted on the menu, and Jill Manau put the final menu together.
“She did a great job,” Irps said. “She is the day-to-day operations manager and way more involved than we are.”
Fowl Player, a burger with smoked bacon, American cheese and a fried egg, is one of the best sellers. Another popular burger is Mac Daddy, which includes barbecue pulled pork, smoked bacon, a fried egg, onion and jalapeno straws.
“We also sell a lot of chicken wings,” Irps said, adding the gigantic pretzel twist is another popular appetizer.
The grill in Kankakee is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Irps expects the Gibson City restaurant to be open “relatively late ” as well.
“We will tweak that if it’s slow at night,” he said.
The restaurant won’t release its opening date. Instead, Irps said they prefer a “soft opening on a weekday.”
In the meantime, workers are at the restaurant every day, finishing the interior. The flooring, walls, kitchen and bar equipment have all been replaced.
“It’s going to have a really nice fun feel to it,” Irps said.
The company is also interviewing workers and plans to have approximately 20 part-time employees.
“We are excited about being part of the community,” Irps said. “I think we will really fit in.”