SYCAMORE – Some of the first customers at the new Hardee's restaurant in Sycamore came bearing gifts.
Sam Makim, manager of Rising Star Restaurants LLC and franchise owner of Hardee’s at 1645 DeKalb Ave. in Sycamore, was overwhelmed with the response from customers, some of whom brought in coffee mugs from the 1980s and '90s.
They delivered them to the restaurant’s new employees on opening day and symbolized the history of Hardee’s in DeKalb County. The restaurant chain had a location at 2500 Sycamore Road in DeKalb that closed in the late '90s and one at the corner of Annie Glidden Road and Lincoln Highway that also closed.
“The community has welcomed us with open arms,” he said. “We couldn’t wait. The DeKalb-Sycamore area had Hardee’s before but they were depleted from our great food for several years.
"The local community has really embraced us,” he said.
Makim said Rising Star Restaurants is looking to develop at least five Hardee’s restaurants in the northwest suburbs of Chicago in the next few years. Sycamore is the company’s first venture.
The restaurant began construction in October and wrapped up at the beginning of the month, opening up as scheduled in mid-March.
The Sycamore Hardee’s has 42 employees ranging in age from high-schoolers to 60-year-olds, according to Makim. He said about 90 percent of the restaurant's employees are from DeKalb and Sycamore and that the restaurant is still hiring.
“We feel like we’ve provided a good employment boost for the town,” he said. “We’re not done yet – we’re still looking for energetic people for some management roles.”
Makim said the biscuits and gravy have been a popular menu item over the past week. The biscuits are baked fresh everyday onsite and served until 10:30 a.m.
The restaurant is open until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Makim said the restaurant has plans to be open 24-hours-a-day by summer.
"We want to make sure we take care of our customer service and that we have enough staff to meet our customer needs before we open up 24 hours," Makim said. "Sycamore people are warm and nice. They’re patient knowing we can improve our service.
"It’s very good to see. Not a lot of customers are like this in that business.”