Gillesson’s in Aurora closes physical location

Saturday will be the last day of service during lunch and dinner hours at downtown’s famed Aurora restaurant, Gillerson’s Grubbery.

The restaurant at 33 W. New York St. plans to host private functions, pop-up events with other restaurants, and handle pre-ordered pickups from the venue until they officially begin moving at the end of the year, said owner Dan Emerson.

If they have the staff, they can open a few nights when there are shows at the Paramount Theater, he said.

“Our landlord has been very understanding and has actually reduced our rent for the next six months, so we will be operating from here for a commissioner’s kitchen,” he said.

Instead of the brick-and-mortar space, Emerson pivots to focus on operating and restoring Gilerson’s food trucks.

Emerson explained how the mandatory closings during the COVID-19 pandemic have hurt his business. He got creative in the winter of 2021, allowing other restaurants to host pop-up parties on the site during public holidays, which helped the restaurant recoup some of the money it had lost.

But that wasn’t enough, Emerson said, adding that he frankly felt a lot of relief from closing the nearly seven-year-old brick-and-mortar restaurant in the heart of downtown Aurora.

Emerson said overhead, including labor, was what made exploiting the space impractical.

Typically, he said, the restaurant struggles each summer without any shows at Paramount, but this year it saw 16% less activity each month during the summer.

“Our food truck is making better profits with a lot less overhead,” Emerson said. “I honestly think that’s where the industry is going here. There are so many different options.

Their food truck will be in the Menards parking lot in Montgomery on Ogden Avenue in the coming weeks and at the Kuipers Family Farm in Maple Park on weekends. Emerson said to check Gillerson’s Grubbery Facebook page for information on the food truck’s hours.

They also plan to have the food truck at the Kane County Cougars games next year.

“It’s a relief and a lot of the staff, especially in the kitchen, are staying with us,” Emerson said. “They will always be taken care of and I have contacted other business owners and many have said they will take on any staff who need a job which is cool.”

Emerson said he hopes using the food truck throughout the Kane County area will expose his business to more people.

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