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FALL/WINTER 2017

Popular local artist paints the town, with pieces up all over

Thai restaurant takes its talents across the street to new, familiar location

Dixon graduate is helping shape students’ future in Fulton d i x o n

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FALL/WINTER 2017

Publisher Don T. Bricker Advertising Director Jennifer Heintzelman Editor Jeff Rogers Magazine Editors Lucas Pauley Rusty Schrader Page Design Lucas Pauley Published by

Sauk Valley Media 3200 E. Lincolnway Sterling, IL 61081 815-625-3600 Articles and advertisements are the property of Sauk Valley Media. No portion of Dixon Living Magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Ad content is not the responsibility of Sauk Valley Media. The information in this magazine is believed to be accurate; however, Sauk Valley Media cannot and does not guarantee its accuracy. Sauk Valley Media cannot and will not be held liable for the quality or performance of goods and services provided by advertisers listed in any portion of this magazine.

Artist’s work has found a home all over her hometown

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More inside 4 Al & Leda’s Pizzeria

23 Dixon Stage Left Audience numbers keep growing at downtown theater

Family – yours and the owners’ – have always been an important part of eatery

9 The Royal Palms

27 Somkit

Young owner decides the time is now, takes plunge with local favorite

Thai restaurant still offers same dishes, just under a different name

15 Main Moments

33 New Fulton High official

Woman has been helping local brides look their best for decades

Dixon High School graduate now leading students, athletes in area

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Leda Bartolomei, 85, gets to working on making her delicious pies at Al & Leda’s Pizzeria in Dixon.

STORY BY AVALYNDA CASEY & PHOTOS BY ALEX T. PASCHAL FOR DIXON LIVING

All about family at Al & Leda’s

Al and Leda’s Pizzeria

325 W. Everett St. 815-284-3932 On Facebook Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Monday

Pizzeria still going strong after nearly 60 years

W

hen many folks in Dixon are in the mood for Italian, they turn to Al & Leda’s Pizzeria. This family-run business turns 57 on Dec. 3, with no sign of slowing down. Leda Bartolomei, 85, still works in the restaurant 3 days a week. She and her husband, Al, married in 1949 and were already parents of three girls when they opened their own restaurant. This wasn’t the first time they’d been a part of a family restaurant. Their love story of family and food began

in Pariana, Italy, in 1896, with Al’s father, Ubaldo Bartolomei. He came to Sterling as a child with his parents, and grew up working long hours in his family’s store, The Naperville Candy Kitchen, which was open from 6 a.m. to midnight. Ubaldo returned to Italy to visit his hometown as a teen, and met and married his sweetheart, Celide, in 1921. Al, born and raised in Sterling, was their third of four children. Al and Leda lived in Rockford and visited his parents in Sterling as they raised their own family. In May of 1960, they met an elderly man,

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Ruffo Angelo, who owned a restaurant, and they jumped at the chance to own their own business. They purchased his store in December, and that night, they transferred ownership and opened as if nothing had skipped a beat. They rented a building for 10 years that used to stand at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Everett Street in Dixon. Leda had previously been working in Rockford at a Holiday Inn kitchen and The Red Coach Restaurant. They commuted for a while until they moved to Sterling.


ABOVE: Lindy Pickett makes a pair of Italian hamburgers at the restaurant. RIGHT: The most popular size is the 20-inch family pizza, a monster of a pizza that will feed the whole crew in one fell swoop.

When the restaurant moved to its current location at 325 W. Everett St., they bought the building and made it their own. The menu changed a little, but they brought their neon sign with them, proudly illuminating the same letters since 1960. The restaurant added chef salad, lasagna and bigger pizzas. “My husband saw me making a pizza, and he said, ‘We’ll call that Leda’s Special,’” Leda said. “It’s loaded with sausage, mushrooms, onion, green peppers, pepperoni and cheese.” Today, family photos line the walls – even from Al and Leda’s honeymoon in Italy. The original cow bell clangs on the door when customers enter. Their 3 girls were young when the restaurant opened, but worked as wait staff and helped make the bread. Bea, who was 10, Rita, 9, and Linda, 5, all

grew up in the restaurant, and continued to work in the business through school. The restaurant has long been a place for families – not just their own – to gather. “We couldn’t be where we are if we didn’t have customers who keep coming back,” Leda said. The family is so appreciative of their lifelong customers. “We have the regulars, and people who visit after moving away always come back to see us,” Leda said. But when Al passed away in 1988, Leda feared that she was done. “If it wouldn’t have been for my girls, I couldn’t have done it alone,” she said. Linda Napier, 61, came to work for her mom in 1984 after working at Sterling Kmart for 7 years. Her sister, Bea Brown, just retired from the restaurant in 2014, after working there since

1987. She now lives in Arizona. Rita Barnes, who went to college to become a pharmacist, worked during the summers and is retired in Indiana. Linda’s daughter, Tina Martinez, 42, continues the tradition, and has worked in the restaurant since 1998. Her husband, Baltizar “Junior” Martinez Jr., 44, delivers and prepares pizzas. “I think our pizza is the best, because I make every pizza with love,” Junior said. “The family is still here, working together after all these years.” Tina and Junior’s daughters round out the family bond with Jade Martinez, 20, spending her summers as a waitress while she attends Kirkwood College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Jazmin Martinez, a freshman at Sterling High School. Continued on page 7

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Pledge Card Name: Address: Email: Phone: Date:

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United Way of Lee County Mail to: UWLC P.O. Box 382 Dixon, IL. 61021


Continued from page 5

They all know every part of the business, how to make everything, and they each have their specialty. “No employees make any of the food. ... It is all made by the family,” Linda said. Is there secret recipes? Not really, but the pizzeria have a unique spice blend, and the sauce and bread dough is made daily. The family has ordered its cheese from Avanti Foods in Walnut for 57 years. The family does its best to give to the community, too. “We do support some benefits for people who need a helping hand, and the schools,” Linda said. “With the [PADS shelter for women and children] coming in down the block next year, we’ll be able to help them out occasionally, when we have extra food.” The Labor Union Hall has been ordering 10 to 12 pizzas every month for years. Other celebrations and family gatherings are always welcome. In October, 12 graduates of the Dixon High School Class of 1967 shared two tables, lots of tasty pizza, laughs and memories of their times in high school. Traveling from out of town, Bill Osmer said the group returned for the pizza.

A pizza fresh out of the oven at Al & Leda’s Pizzeria in Dixon. The family has a unique spice blend, and the sauce and bread dough is made daily.

“We used to come to [the restaurant] after the games, school plays, musicals – really anything,” he said. “We all were best friends, and we are in town for the reunion over at the Dixon Theatre, but we had to come back here first.” Leda still takes her work very seriously,

spending time making pizzas and the tangy French dressing. “I work hard, but I love it. I still come to work for the people,” she said. “We love our customers so much, and we are thankful for each one. We want to make them the best food.” s

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Maria Durham, 25, of Dixon, stands in The Royal Palms, which she purchased Jan. 1.

No regrets at The Royal Palms

New owner gives running own bar a shot

STORY BY AVALYNDA CASEY & PHOTOS BY ALEX T. PASCHAL FOR DIXON LIVING

M

aria Durham never once considered that she might be choosing the wrong career when she purchased The Royal Palms on Jan. 1. “I was getting my general education classes out of the way at Sauk, starting a nursing degree, and I just asked myself, ‘Will I regret not doing it, if I let this opportunity pass?’ I knew it was the next step for me,” she said. And the 25-year-old hasn’t looked back. Maria has worked as a bartender since she was 19 at Angelo’s III, and for her mom, Linda, who owns Alley Loop Saloon and Deli, across the Bean Blossom parking lot. Linda has also

The Royal Palms

83 S. Galena Ave., Dixon 815-288-6180 On Facebook Hours: 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday worked at the Royal Palms. The Royal Palms was owned for 43 years by her uncle, Bill Eastman, who originally offered the business to Linda, but she declined.

What seemed like a lark, when he asked Maria if she wanted to buy it, turned into a possibility a week later, when Maria felt it could be her chance. “I will have paid the business off by the time I’m 32, and I can always go back to school,” Maria said with a smile. “I really love seeing people every day, and I really like bartending.” Maria, who has also waited tables at Mama Cimino’s, loves talking to customers and making conversation. Continued on page 11

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Maria pours a Belgian White from Blue Moon Brewing Company at the bar. The young owner has added some interesting craft beers (examples shown below).

Continued from page 9

“I always wanted to own a bar, and I always felt that bartending was an easy way to make money and meet lots of people,” Durham said. “If I’m having a bad day, I get up and come to work and I realize that it’s not so bad.” Scotty Masters owned the bar for 18 years before Bill, so there’s a lot of history in the two-story building. It’s part of the reason Maria has been slow to make changes, because she doesn’t want to alter too much about what makes the Palms unique. “We’ve added some bartenders, now serve 8 new craft beers, offer some specialty items, and we change our draft beers according to the season,” she said. The menu for food is small but mighty, with several varieties of hot pizza available or your choice of cheese-filled pretzels or spicy jerky with a side of beer mustard. The fall beers include Old Style Oktoberfest, brewed in Wisconsin and available in 16 oz. cans. Adam Healy, a regular, said he comes in every day for Maria’s smile. “I want to see my friends, and hang out with the crew.” Maria likes to support community causes, and the Palms has donated to the Dixon River Bandits, Rockford Easter Seals’ golf outing, and other local events. She’s given away bloody mary baskets for auctions, and the annual “cash out” from all the penny tickets from gaming machines collects about $200 for Tools for Schools. She also gives to the Black Hawk Trail Riders’ fundraiser for Shop with a Cop. On Oct. 21, the bar hosted its the first “Creep It Real” costume contest with drink specials and snacks. The bar plans to participate in the

Ultimate Tailgate event Oct. 22 in the Bean Blossom parking lot. Next spring and summer, the bar plans to sponsor a softball team to round out the flag football, dart teams, and pool teams. “I’ve teased Mom that she should come back over here and bartend for me for Throw Back Thursdays,” Maria said. “So maybe we’ll do that.” Also coming in 2018 is a wedding. Maria will marry her fiance, Greg Burke, along the riverfront. “It is sort of a way to give back to my town,” she said. “I’ve grown up down here, and I’d like to keep it local.” s

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Make memories with Main Moments

STORY BY AVALYNDA CASEY & PHOTOS BY ALEX T. PASCHAL FOR DIXON LIVING

D

o you need some alterations done to your wedding dress? There’s a woman in Dixon with decades of experience who can help you look perfect on your special day. Cheryl O’Hare, 57, of Dixon, started sewing before age 8, making doll clothes on her mother’s sewing machine. Raised in Amboy, she started making all her own clothes at 9 and wore them everywhere. “I remember Ms. Helen Glessner’s sewing class in junior high,” she said. “I made my eighth-grade graduation day outfit. I was very proud.” She had completed her first wedding dress the year before for her older sister’s friend. “I love to sew. I enjoy the ability to make something I like, with better quality than you can find in the stores,” she said. “It drives me crazy when plaids aren’t matched, and hems aren’t hemmed.” O’Hare also made bridesmaid dresses, matching multiples of different sizes for some of her 5 sisters. She added alteration services and similar projects in high school. A few years ago, O’Hare moved to Dixon so that she could serve more customers through her business, Main Moments. Along with new dresses, she enjoys re-making mothers’ and grandmothers’ wedding dresses into heirlooms for children’s baptism, first communion and prom. It takes her over a month to make a custom bridal gown. “Not everyone can sew or make a correct alteration. I have seen dresses sadly gape in the front, or seams not sewn straight,” she said.

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Continued on page 15

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She also makes custom curtains, pillows, bedspreads, duvets, seat cushions and more. O’Hare started college in 1977, focused on fashion design, fashion merchandising, and retail management. She completed almost 2 years at the Minnesota School of Business, learning more creative ways to make her own patterns, sewing her own clothes to rival any style or fad. “Business classes taught me the art of selling, how to display and rotate merchandise, and my favorite – the history of fashion,” she said. She returned home with more motivation to expand her abilities. Through needing a job to pay her bills, Cheryl kept sewing her own clothes, and wordof-mouth kept her busy. From 1980 to 1983, Cheryl joined the Army in communications, and when she completed her service, she returned home to be close to her parents, still in Amboy. She worked for years in bookkeeping and since she had to dress up, she made her own suits. “People noticed,” she said. “They’d ask where I bought it, and then, they’d want me to sew for them.” Cheryl’s family always supported her in

Earlier this year, O’Hare took pieces of a mother’s wedding dress and integrated it into her daughter’s dress. Speaking of family, O’Hare said hers has always supported her in business and in the ups and downs of life.

business and the ups and downs of life. Her parents, the late William and Sophie O’Hare, raised 6 daughters. O’Hare, the middle daughter, cherished time with her family. “Dad worked at Amboy Leffleman’s more than 20 years, and my parents set good exam-

ples,” she said. “When Dad passed away, everyone wanted a tractor from his vast collection. They knew they were in perfect running order.” Continued on page 17

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After both parents passed and the last house she rented came up for sale, one sister gave her good advice: move to Dixon. So, she bought the house of her dreams and in the past 3 years, her client base has grown. “I really care about the customer – how the clothing fits, that she likes it, that she is comfortable in it, and that she feels like she looks good in it.” she said. “I love to use expensive fabric, intricate detail work, and antique lace. Every piece is unique. Even if you aren’t a bride, you should still feel beautiful.” O’Hare worked at J.C. Penney in Sterling until the store closed. “I’ll be looking for something else, and I’ll keep sewing,” she said in July. It’ll surely be the lessons that her parents taught her that will help O’Hare continue to be successful. “I think I get my passion for sewing from my parents,” she said. “They taught me the value of hard work and integrity of spirit.” s

O’Hare inspects the seam on a finished dress.

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What’s your favorite? Watercolor

STORY BY ANDREA MILLS & PHOTOS BY PETER BALSER FOR DIXON LIVING

Dixon High graduate has art all over town

Dixon artist Sydni Reubin poses for a photo in her studio at home.

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he eyes seem to watch you as you gaze at the face looking out toward you. It’s difficult to look away. This is what it’s like during your first look at the large watercolor portrait of Sydni Reubin’s brother, Ross, hanging at Books On First. “This was part of my senior [college] thesis work,” Reubin, 30, said. “The pressure was on, because it was my thesis and it was my brother. It had to be perfect.” She painted the portrait three times. “Once you mess something up, you’re done,” Reubin said. “I didn’t realize that [painting in watercolor] was understood to be difficult when I started.” At the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, which she attended from 2005 to 2009, she was told by her supervisor, “Could you pick anything harder to do?” “Watercolor seems to come naturally to me,” she said. “I never thought about once you mess up, that’s it.” The Dixon native has had a longtime passion for painting. “I always wanted to express myself in that way,” she said, adding she thought it had started in grade school. “I had great art teachers throughout junior high, and my high school teacher, Lisa Kastello, was incredible at fostering that.” Reubin graduated from Dixon High School in 2005. After her time in Milwaukee, she returned to Dixon, where she now has her studio and home. She has part-time jobs, but painting is her main source of income. “To be able to do this in a town of 16,000 people is a cool thing,” she said. In the summer and fall, she attends festivals, and had a special role at the Grand Detour Arts Festival on Sept. 10. “The Grand Detour experience was a little different for me this year,” she said. Beyond her regular booth, where she sells her work, the festival committee commissioned a painting for a raffle at the fair. Reubin also did a live painting demonstration, so as you can see, “there were quite a few things going on.”


Sydni L. Reubin

815-535-8907 sydni.reubin@gmail.com facebook.com/sydnireubinartist During the demonstration, she worried she wasn’t talking to people enough. “You have to find a balance between having a conversation and actually getting some progress made, so they can see the process, but I did fine,” she said. Her personal work is usually portraits. “Typically, it’s all figurative,” Reubin said. “So it’s all people. It’s usually people I know, and know pretty well.” After summer and fall, she’s busy with commission work. That usually takes the form of portraits of people who she doesn’t necessarily know, or pets. The work can take 4 to 6 weeks. For commission work, Reubin likes to meet the subject. When a person sees a painting she’s done of a friend – that perhaps took a year to finish – and wants one just like that, it’s not always easy to duplicate that same emotional appearance in a portrait of someone she doesn’t know. Continued on page 21

TOP: Local artist Sydni Reubin works on a painting in her Dixon studio. ABOVE: Portraits of Prince and Chance The Rapper are shown with a unique promotional sign Reubin uses at her art shows.

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“I like to sit down and meet the client if possible,” she said. “Some sort of relationship is helpful. ... I’m able to put a little more emotion into the painting.” That being said, a lot of her commission work still has had its fair share of emotion. “A lot of them have been surprises or of family members who have passed away,” Reubin said. “I’ve been fortunate to get some very heavy, emotional requests lately. It helps to have that connection.” When it comes to pet portraits, her subjects have mostly been dogs. “However, I have done a few cat portraits and those have been just as enjoyable,” Reubin said. “I think my own cat has been wondering, ‘When are you going to paint me?’” She’s also done commissioned work for local businesses. Three of them have been large-scale projects.

Where to see her work

• Books On First, 202 W. First St. • The Next Picture Show, 113 W. First St. • Orom, 308 W. First St. • Somkit, 214 W. First St. • That Place On Palmyra, 628 Palmyra Road • Tipsy Bar, 709 S. Hennepin Ave.

Whether it’s commission work or her personal project, emotion plays an important role for Reubin. “I like to sit down and meet the client if possible,” she said. “Some sort of relationship is helpful. ... I’m able to put a little more emotion into the painting.”

At Tipsy, she painted celebrity mugshots. “I did 10 for them,” Reubin said. “The smallest one’s 3-feet-by-4-feet. I did that for almost 2 years.”

She also painted four pieces of vintage Dixon scenes for That Place On Palmyra. Somkit, formerly Touch of Thai, also commissioned two pieces, one of

Wrigley Field. “And one of Som, the restaurant’s namesake, the patriarch of the family who passed away,” she said. Another restaurant where you can see her watercolors is Orom, 308 W. First St., owned by her mother and stepfather, Lisa and Mark Framke. “I’ve been lucky enough to be able to hang my work there, too,” she said. “‘I’ve saturated the market a little bit.” s

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Let’s take it from the top Dixon Stage Left, a second-floor success story, continues to grow with each unique production STORY BY ANDREA MILLS & PHOTOS BY PETER BALSER FOR DIXON LIVING

T

he 1960s TV cartoon character Snagglepuss tended to get out of a bad situation with the words, “Exit, stage left.” It’s safe to say that not many theater lovers are using that catchphrase these days in Dixon – especially at Dixon Stage Left. The theater opened in 2014 in the top floor of a downtown building – which was formerly a Masonic Lodge – built in 1880. “It has nice, high ceilings,” Tim Boles, general manager, director and actor, said of this second-floor black box theater. Those ceilings are enhanced by the 1800s-style gold oak woodwork and the general feeling of being in a special place with history in every corner. There were two chamber rooms: one for the public and the other, fancier room, was where the Masons held their meetings. Today, the public chamber houses a stage and space for the audience with chairs and tables, lit by LED candles. In the private chamber, the Crystal Cork sells beverages. Smaller rooms hold a scenery shop, various prop rooms, restrooms, storage and other show necessities. The theater’s staircase was once a daunting feature, but a grant made a new chairlift possible. Boles, who was born in Virginia, moved to Morrison at an early age. He’s lived in Dixon since 1981. “One of my goals was I wanted to have professional quality theater in Dixon,” he said. “My board was very supportive, so we took this on with an eye to supplying a really high-quality night out for adults.” It also had benefits for him. “I did most of my work in the Chicago area,” Boles said. “It’s been a great opportunity to meet a lot of people. It’s been an interesting thing – kind of like moving back to Dixon.” The first show was “Vanities,” featuring three women. Continued on page 25

Up next at Dixon Stage Left

Tim Boles, general manager, director and actor at Dixon Stage Left, poses for a photo at the theater.

“Death by Design” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1-2 and 7-9, and 3 p.m. Dec. 3 and 10 at the theater, 306 W. First St. Tickets are available at dixonstageleft.com, Trein’s Jewelry, 201 W. First St., and The Crystal Cork, 219 W. First St. Call 312-420-8715, visit the website or find Dixon Stage Left on Facebook for more information.

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A black-and-white portrait from the most recent show, “No Exit,” by Jean-Paul Satre.

Continued from page 23

“We had three terrific actresses and they helped us to get going,” Boles said. “That first year, we had three productions. Our average total attendance was about 140 to 150 per production. Since then, our average has more than doubled. Last year, we had a production that had more than 520 people. That was nice.” Boles provides a mixture ranging from comedy to intense drama. “I love those really intense, emotional dramas,” he said, “but, of course, we can’t do those intense dramas every time or we’d run out of Kleenex.” The most recent performance was “No Exit,” with Kevin Tumleson of Dixon as production manager.

“We’re doing ‘No Exit,’” Boles said before the play started, “which is sort-of a famous play written by a philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. The last line of it is, ‘Hell is other people.’ My assistant, Kevin, is the one who is completely in charge of this.” The story is about three people trapped in a waiting room of hell. They come to the conclusion that their torment is that they can’t stand each other and that they’re stuck there together. Tumleson was in the director’s chair for “No Exit.” “I’m fairly new to the game,” he said. The director attended St. Mary School in Dixon and Dixon High School. Tumleson said he occasionally acted, beginning in fourth grade, but once he hit high school, he began to realize it’s what he wanted to do for a living.

“I like directing subtle things,” Tumleson said. He gave this example: “I want you to move your index finger up and down like a slight irritation thing to convey to the audience.” He said his style is to plan every detail. “I have everything mapped out up to every single beat,” Tumleson said. “Then, I bring it forth. Then, we block it out in 1 or 2 weeks, and when we get to the fourth week, it’s completely different – not what I planned at all.” The next show is “Death by Design,” a British mystery spoof. “It’s our first whodunit,” Boles said. What isn’t a mystery, is the success of Dixon Stage Left, which has been built through the hard work of actors, directors and crew members from right here in the Sauk Valley. s

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Family and staff at Somkit, formerly Touch of Thai, sit below a portrait of the late Somkit “Sam” Yindeerhoop, painted by Dixon artist Sydni Reubin. Sam was a huge Cubs fan, and the family honored him with a “Cubs Corner” (shown below) at the new restaurant.

Somkit similarities Family honors late father with new look and name, and the same great food STORY BY ANDREA MILLS & PHOTOS BY ALEX T. PASCHAL AND PETER BALSER FOR DIXON LIVING

D

iners come in off the street into the former Snow White Bakery building and enter the world of Thai and sushi served in surroundings reminiscent of downtown Chicago. Somkit, owned by Jack and Aim Yindeeroop, has been open for about 4 months. It is the offspring of the restaurant, Touch of Thai, the stepping stone for Jack’s parents’ retirement. After investing 25 years in the restaurant business, Sumkit and Udi Yindeeroop moved from Chicago to Dixon to start a small restaurant, Jack’s brother, Job Yindeeroop, said.

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Continued on page 29

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Continued from page 27

“Doing a small restaurant was retirement,” Job said. “It sounded like fun. It wasn’t anything new. It was something they knew how to do. They didn’t think it would be anything too difficult to handle.” But things changed. About 6 months later, it was getting busy – too busy. “I think Mom was in her late 50s and Dad his early 60s,” Job said. “So that was way too much for them. That’s when we, her kids, started gravitating out here a day or 2 at a time.” Soon, Job’s two older brothers brought sushi to Touch of Thai, adding to its appeal. Today, Job is the restaurant’s head sushi chef The family had rented the building where Touch of Thai originally was for its 10 years as a restaurant. They had looked at the bakery building across the street earlier, and eventually gave it a second look. “My father passed away about a year and a half ago,” Job said. “After he passed away, we looked at it again. This time it all worked out. Hence the name change to Somkit. That was his name. It means ‘wish fulfillment’ in Thai. That’s what it translates to. It felt right.” The name “Touch of Thai” has not left the scene. It is now the second part of the family business and will be used in catering, carry-out and food service. Somkit smiles down from the wall in a painting greeting customers at the restaurant that bears his name. His widow, Udi, continues to be active in the family business. “She’s here every day working like she’s still in her 50s, maybe younger, I don’t know,” said Job. “I can’t keep up with her, honestly. She’s very involved in what’s going on day-to-day.” Job said some restaurants boast about being just like having mom in the kitchen, but at Somkit, “Mom really is in the kitchen.” Now owning their own location, the family got to work on remodeling the building. Job said they gutted it, which allowed them to design it the way they wanted. “A part of it is to try to give that essence of being in the big city like Chicago or Rockford,” Job said. The sushi bar is twice the size as the Touch of Thai bar and the kitchen layout is more efficient. “We added a new drinking bar,” said Elliott Ernst, general manager, who has been with the business for 6 years. Many Dixonites have memories of bakery. They will be pleased to see some parts of the old favorite still remain. Job said they did as little dry walling as possible. “This is still the original floor that was here, as are the bricks,” he said. “We tried to do it in a way that we kept as much of the original building as we could.”

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Crazy Brown Rice with Beef from Somkit.

Continued from page 29

Former bakery-goers likely remember the pick-up window. Job said a customer once mentioned picking up doughnuts at the window while riding by on a bike. “We utilized that as well,” Job said. “Now you can pick up Thai food and sushi.” No one should let fear of the unknown keep

Pad Thai with Chicken is a popular dish.

them away from trying the Thai or sushi listings on the menu. Ingredients are listed on the menu and can be explained by the wait staff. “We’ve got a really nice, broad blend of flavors,” Elliott said. If a diner is new to Thai and sushi, they will be asked a few questions about what food they enjoy eating. For instance, in sushi, if one does not like fish, Job might suggest using sweet

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Dixon grad down the road

Robert “Bob” Gosch, a 29-year-old Dixon native, is the new assistant principal and athletic director at Fulton High School. Learn more on page 35.

STORY BY LEICHAN STOERGER & PHOTOS BY ALEX T. PASCHAL FOR DIXON LIVING

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New assistant principal, athletic director excited about new start

A

new official at Fulton High School is ready to play ball. Robert “Bob” Gosch, a 29-year-old Dixon native, is the new assistant principal and athletic director at Fulton High School, and he brings with him plenty of experience and a strong desire to help kids. “I decided to get into education because I enjoy helping kids,” Gosch said. “I enjoy helping people work together to solve problems and passing this knowledge along to students.” Gosch is no stranger to high school sports, being an athlete himself and having coached in the past. He graduated in 2006 from Dixon High School, where he was in track for 4 years and played basketball for 2 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in education from Western Illinois University. Gosch brought with him to Fulton his wife, Kelly, and 3-year-old daughter, Evelyn. Prior to working at Fulton High, Gosch worked at ROWVA High School in Oneida, where he taught junior high and high school science for the past 5 years. He was the assistant track coach for 2 years and the varsity girls basketball coach for the past 2 years. Gosch said coaching allowed him to interact with kids on a different level. “Instead of seeing the students for 85 minutes every other day, I would work with them for an additional 2 hours at the end of the day,” he said. “That allowed me to get to know them better and figure out ways to help them be successful in and out of the classroom.” Gosch said being a coach also helped him

understand all the different IHSA rules and regulations. “Everything from concussions to filling out different forms for participation, I had a pretty good knowledge of things that need to get done before a season.” Chris Tennyson, Fulton High School principal, said that Gosch is a great fit for the high school. “He has been eager to learn his responsibilities,” Tennyson said. “The fact that he has a science background is nice, because he is able to work with science and math teachers.” Tennyson said Gosch had terrific energy during the interview process. “He came across as passionate about Fulton and wanted to get heavily involved in the high school,” Tennyson said. Both officials supervise the cafeteria together every day. Gosch has been great at getting to know the students, especially athletes, Tennyson said. Gosch said the school year is going well so far and staff and students have made him feel at home. “We had a great start to football and volleyball,” Gosch said. “It has been fun meeting the students and everyone has been very welcoming.” “I am excited to see all the different activities and ideas that our teachers have,” Gosch said. “We have a great staff.” Away from work, Gosch loves being home and spending time with his wife and daughter. He’s a big sports fan and plays recreational sports in his free time. And just like his favorite NFL team, the Chicago Bears, Gosch is ready to bear down and get to work.

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Dixon Living Fall Winter 2017  
Dixon Living Fall Winter 2017