It took longer than expected, but downtown Rockford’s newest destination has finally opened its doors. Discover this restaurant’s unique concept and why it’s so refreshing on the local dining scene.
The wait is finally over.
After several months of delays, Capital House, 308 W. State St., is now serving coffeehouse breakfast and full-service lunch and dinner in downtown Rockford.
“The anticipation before any opening is always exciting,” says Ted Brothers, co-owner. “When the process takes so long, you’re just glad to be open.”
Rockford’s first hybrid restaurant opened its doors in late February at the address formerly occupied by Kryptonite bar. Coffee, tea and smoothies are served all day; there’s a sushi bar available during lunch and dinner, and the menu includes entrees akin to that of a fine dining restaurant. Once a liquor license is approved, a martini and wine bar will open in the afternoon.
Capital House is designed as a “hybrid restaurant,” where a variety of menus work together. It’s a feature that caters to the diverse crowd likely to visit the establishment. Located at West State and Main streets, Capital House is in close proximity to downtown’s business centers, loft residences and entertainment venues.
“Most people who come to these types of restaurants are on foot because they work here and they live here,” Brothers says. “Breakfast, lunch and coffee are for people who work down here – mostly young professionals – or people who work in the courts or federal offices. Then, at night, you’ll see urban dwellers or those who actually live around here.”
Brothers, a longtime chef from Boston, is business partners with his fiancée, Robin Young. She’s a Belvidere native who’ll oversee the day-to-day operations at the restaurant. The pair first met at the Wellington Equestrian Festival, the largest event of its kind in Florida. Even though she competes all over the country, Young calls the Rockford area home and currently runs Foxwood Farm, in Rockton, Ill.
Brothers moved to Rockford about two years ago, after the couple became engaged.
Bringing their big-city experiences to Capital House, Brothers and Young have created a dining service with numerous options. Guests are treated to wait service on the second floor, while customers are served directly by the chef downstairs. Large tables, comfortable couches and bar stools give Capital House the look and feel of an upscale lounge.
Music plays over the speakers, adding to the upbeat atmosphere. Large, oversized windows bring in plenty of natural light.
Signature entrees include Alaskan king, salmon filet served with lobster risotto, and Norwegian shrimp pasta with squid ink capellini. There’s also a lunch menu, which includes pastrami on a pretzel bun or soups such as New England chowder.
“The food here is high-end and we only use the best food,” Brothers says. “We don’t have fryers or anything like it in the restaurant.”
Many of the dishes are served with a protein, vegetables and a sauce. The seafood used at Capital House comes straight from Boston and Seattle, while beef comes from Chicago and Denver. Vegetables and herbs are sourced locally, when possible, and all of the food is organic.
“Rockford has never seen a hybrid restaurant like this,” Brothers says. “When you go to a big city like Chicago, New York or Los Angeles, this is what you see in their urban areas or financial districts. This is the first of its kind in Rockford.”
Now that Capital House is open, Brothers is turning his attention to two additional projects while Young oversees the restaurant. He intends to open Capital Foods, a high-end grocery store that features an Italian deli on the first floor of the Burnham Lofts – located right across the street from Capital House. He also plans to open Capital Reserve, a Chicago-style chophouse, in Freeport. Both are scheduled to open in the coming months.
“We want to offer more options in downtown Rockford,” Brothers says.
Capital House is open Mon.-Thurs. 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Hours will be extended around April or May, after the restaurant acquires its liquor license.