Learn about a restaurant that’s about to become the talk of downtown Rockford and find out how the owner plans to make ordering an exceptional meal a lot easier.
Year after year, downtown Rockford keeps improving. Ted Brothers, an experienced chef from Boston, thinks it’s time to join in on the progress.
In the near future, he’ll be opening Capital House: a new, high-end coffee shop and bistro. The urban-style restaurant is wrapping up with renovations at 308 W. State St. – the former Kyrptonite bar.
“The heart and soul of any city is its downtown, and Capital House will give downtown Rockford an identity,” Brothers says. “Forty years from now, when people ask ‘Where do you want to go?,’ we want the answer to be Capital House.”
Brothers describes Capital House as a hybrid restaurant – meaning multiple menus work together. There’s coffee available all day, a sushi bar during lunch and dinner, entrées that consist primarily of fish options, and a martini and wine bar that opens in the afternoon.
Most of the dishes will be served in large, Asian-style bowls with proteins, vegetables and sauces on top. Besides a few sushi options, nothing will be fried. Fish comes directly from the Boston and Seattle markets, while beef comes directly from Chicago and Denver markets. All herbs and vegetables are locally sourced when possible, and everything is organic.
“We don’t store food – we bring it in fresh every single day,” Brothers says. “We don’t call our specials ‘specials.’ We call them ‘features’ because the menu is changing all the time. I might call the Boston market and find Chilean sea bass is down in price, so we’ll feature it. Sushi is the same way – we’ll feature different sushi rolls. Soups are always changing, too. Everything is innovative and fresh.”
With a menu that constantly changes, Capital House will still have some staple dishes. Lobster thermidor, Sri Lanka fish curry and sea bass ravioli will remain highlights of the menu.
Service options are as diverse as the dining options. Wait-service is available upstairs, while the chef serves customers directly downstairs. There’s large tables, cozy couches and bar stools up for grabs.
“You want to sit down and enjoy the meal, but the environment also has to be really comfortable,” Brothers says. “You can have the best meal in front of you, but if there’s no real personality to the place, and the staff is somewhat unfocused on your customers, that great meal doesn’t matter. It’s all about how you feel when you’re eating it.”
Eventually, Capital House will also have a phone app to order food for pick-up.
“It’s millennial technology that millennials are used to,” Brothers says. “You take options from all types of restaurants and you put them together, and that’s the millennial concept. It’s lots of variety. But, whether it’s millennials or baby boomers, you’ll see people from law firms, the government, law enforcement – it’s primarily professionals. You’ll also see urban dwellers who live downtown, or people who just come downtown to dine. It’s a neutral zone for everyone.”
Looking to the future, Brothers intends to open Capital Reserve, a Chicago-style chophouse, and Capital Foods, a whole foods-style supermarket with an Italian deli.
“We’re excited to open our doors for all of these projects,” Brothers says. “We don’t want to rush; we want to do everything right.”