Photo: Aaron and Kristie Perez recently purchased and re-launched The Lodge on 64 in Wasco. Kristie is an Elburn native who attended Kaneland High School and Waubonsee Community College. Photo and story by Elizabeth Rago
WASCO—The timing was perfect for husband-and-wife entrepreneur team Aaron and Kristie Perez as they were presented in late 2012 with the opportunity to become owners of The Lodge on 64 (formally known as Niko’s Lodge).
The daughter of a local farmer, Kristie was born and raised in Elburn and attended both Kaneland High School and Waubonsee Community College.
“We couldn’t say no to this location and its proximity to all the great surrounding towns and communities,” the Perezs said.
With their lease up, the restaurant’s previous owners did not execute their option to purchase the property. Kristie and Aaron, who together have more than 29 years of experience in the restaurant business, eagerly said yes to the opportunity.
The three-day process (yes, Kristie and Aaron re-launched The Lodge on 64 in three days) posed challenges similar to what other turnkey businesses face when opening. Numerous repairs, new licenses and permits and an update of existing computer software were on the punch list to get The Lodge ready for business.
“The biggest obstacle was taking the restaurant from being closed to making it fully functional and operational as The Lodge on 64 in three days,” Aaron said. “The process was definitely hectic and a little stressful, but we knew what to expect trying to get The Lodge up and going.”
Kristie said that she and her husband have been in the business long enough that they have experienced the ins and outs of what makes a restaurant succeed or fail.
“We have always talked about where and when to open our own restaurant,” Kristie said. “Entering into this venture with The Lodge, we feel like it is right fit us and the community.”
Upon entering The Lodge, eyes are immediately drawn to the mural created by local artist B.J. Wagner on the walls of the entryway. The warmth of the live rotisserie displayed behind the host station, combined with prints and original newspaper clippings of the history of the space, previously known as “The Farm,” brings a relaxed and cordial feel right off the bat.
The Lodge offers American fare featuring ribs, “Braveheart” steaks, burgers, seafood, pasta and salads. The rotisserie oven selections include: wood-roasted chicken, duck, pork and turkey. Fresh homemade appetizers like baked mushrooms stuffed with garlic cream cheese mix or spinach artichoke creamy crab dip, served hot with grilled pita bread, and hearty entrees like the Braveheart burgers are just a few options on the menu.
Monday through Friday, The Lodge will offer all-you-can-eat specials like ribs and fish fry. Monday-through-Thursday “Lodge Dinner Deals” for will be available $10.99.
The Lodge also features complimentary s’mores, which guests can roast on outdoor fire pits, adding to the friendly atmosphere of this Midwest-version of a mountain lodge. From a casual venue to watch your favorite sports team to an intimate night out with your significant other or close friends, The Lodge on 64 serves up homemade American cuisine.
“We want to be known as the place to go for any occasion,” Aaron said. “Whether it is date night, family night out, graduation, birthday and engagement parties, or even a place to watch your favorite sporting events. We cater many events and offer banquet services, but we want to be known for is our quality food and great service.”
For more information about The Lodge on 64, visit thelodgeon64.com or call (630) 443-8000. The Lodge on 64 is located at 41W379 Route 64 in Wasco, just west of St. Charles.