SYCAMORE – Tom & Jerry’s Restaurant in Sycamore began a 500-square-foot expansion of its kitchen last week – the same week that Applebee’s Grill and Bar closed its doors.
The expansion at Tom & Jerry’s, 1670 DeKalb Ave., will make room for new ovens, steamers, a second walk-in freezer and a large preparatory area, according to general manger Sarah Meyer.
“Business is booming,” Meyer said. “While we see large franchise restaurants around the area come down, Tom & Jerry’s continues to thrive. We can’t thank the community enough.”
The six-week project is scheduled to be completed by the end of July.
On a busy catering day, Meyer and other employees typically will work from 5 a.m. until 2 a.m. She said the crazy hours are the result of a lack of space in the kitchen area. Meyer estimates the restaurant averages between 20 to 40 catering orders a week.
The Sycamore Tom & Jerry’s, owned by Diann Beaulieu since 2002, also serves as the primary caterer for weddings at Kuipers Family Farm in Maple Park.
To deal with the extra workload, Meyer said the restaurant houses additional prep tables inside offices and throughout the basement.
“There are never normal hours in the restaurant business,” she said. “But this expansion is going to help so much. We can’t even fathom how helpful it will be.”
Meyer said she’s hopeful the new space will create additional jobs. The restaurant currently employs 33 workers.
Since the majority of the construction is near the back of the restaurant, the dining room isn’t affected by the renovations. The only major adjustment for customers during the expansion has been the drive-thru; customers are now required to order and pay at the same window.
“The expansion hasn’t affected business at all,” Meyer said. “It’s actually made more customers excited – they can’t wait for us to be done and see the progress over the next six weeks.”
Tom & Jerry’s is most known for its gyros, ribs, burgers and sandwiches, however, Meyer said there are many other options on the menu to satisfy all taste buds.
“Our menu’s versatility is what’s helped us stay in business for so long,” Meyer said. “The prime rib is a huge favorite for large groups and parties.”