The arena-adjacent building left empty when the short-lived Walker’s Bar & Venue and Jetty’s Pizza closed in September is vacant no more.
The building is at 220 and 222 S. Commerce, just east of Intrust Bank Arena, and features two separate but adjoined restaurant spaces.
Lou's Charcuteria and Cocktails at 220 S. Commerce opened on Tuesday in the former Walker’s Bar & Venue space and features a limited (for now) menu of sandwiches and meat and cheese platters that are meant to be shared and paired with the restaurant’s cocktail and wine menus. It’s owned by Luis Lopez II, who also has Emerson Biggin’s and Rock Island Live downtown and the Emerson Biggin’s on the west side.
Lopez opened the restaurant with his daughter, Erica, who says the liquor license should be in place soon. In the meantime, the restaurant has started serving dishes including a Venezuelan roasted pork sandwich with chimichurri and garlic aoili on French baguette. It also will offer about 40 specialty cocktails and a unique wine list. It’s open from 11 a.m. to midnight.
Meanwhile, The Hungry Heart & Whole Brewing Company at 222 S. Commerce, is about to open. Owners John David Payne, Cody Hibarger and Ron Beck hope to have the restaurant open by Monday. It will specialize in dishes including fish tacos and ahi tuna nachos. It also will brew its own beer though won’t likely start that until after the first of the year. In the meantime, it’ll serve outside beers. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturday.