Updates on local eateries: Crystal’s eyes spring debut; Rod’s name, classic fare to remain; Kairos Coffee expanding

By John Hamilton - and Tom Barr - News Journal

WILMINGTON — There’s a lot happening on the restaurant front in and around Wilmington.

Work is underway on the long vacant building across from the Clinton County Courthouse that, until a few years ago, was the home of Austin’s Eatery before it closed in January 2016.

The building at 35 S. South St. was bought by Rigoberto Perez — owner of the popular El Dorado Mexican Restaurant on Rombach Avenue — with plans to eventually open a new restaurant called Crystal’s South Street Bar & Grill. The sign was installed early on but work on the building was halted.

However, Crystal’s namesake Crystal Perez, Rigoberto’s wife, told the News Journal Friday that, “We are working on Crystal’s again right now with plans to try and open this spring.”

The Perez family also recently purchased Rod’s Capricorn Inn at 6660 SR 730 near the Cowan Lake spillway. The popular diner is home to the Rod Burger/Double Rod Burger served on top of fries and much more, and that won’t change.

“We plan to keep the name as we had it trademarked to do so,” said Crystal Perez. “We plan to keep the menu the same with possibly some additions to it in the future.”

Max & Erma’s & ???

WILMINGTON — Max & Erma’s Restaurant at the Holiday Inn and Roberts Centre announced January 18 on its Facebook page that the eatery is closing January 30 after 20 years, but to “Stay tuned for the brand new restaurant announcement!”

Regarding plans for a new eatery at the location, when contacted by the News Journal, a manager stated he could not comment.

Kairos Coffee

WILMINGTON — The Kairos coffee shop at 1593 Rombach Ave. will be expanding its establishment into the vacant space next door.

Karen Kratzer, Kairos’ general manager, told the News Journal they will offer assorted baked goods there.


WILMINGTON — The News Journal reported on January 3 that popular restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill plans to build at 2816 Rombach Avenue, at the corner of Progress Way and Rombach and facing Merchants National Bank.

Plans show that the new building will have 2,325 square feet, with a 771 square feet of dining room with seating for 40 people, and patio seating outside for 22.

Mac D’s

WILMINGTON — Mac D’s Pub recently announced that it permanently closed. It operated for more than 35 years, according to the business’ Facebook page announcement.

The property on Wilmington’s west side at 1400 W. Locust St. will be listed for sale soon, added the posting. The current owner as listed on the Clinton County Auditor’s website is Krabar Enterprises.

Engine House & Stephanie’s

NEW VIENNA — A partial collapse of their historic brick building on West Main Street — which occurred in the final stages of the building next door being razed — caused the owners of Engine House Pizza and Stephanie’s Restaurant, Gary and Stephanie Evans, to close down January 5.

The next step in deciding the fate of the building/businesses is for the insurance company to determine what it’s going to do.


By John Hamilton

and Tom Barr

News Journal