Belvidere couple reinvents RBI Brunch Bar in Rockford as original owners shift focus to Rock'n Vodka
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Belvidere couple reinvents RBI Brunch Bar in Rockford as original owners shift focus to Rock'n Vodka

Sep 01, 2023

ROCKFORD — RBI Brunch Bar, the North Perryville Road business that last year rebranded from a sports bar to all-day elevated breakfast, is again changing.

New owners Dave and Toby Prochnicki, a Belvidere couple, closed on the sale in late April and have since been transforming the space at 3870 N. Perryville Road to RBI Brunch and Dinner | Bourbon Street Lounge.

Dave Prochnicki is a contractor who was one of the original owners of Brewsky's bar on Charles Street 20 years ago. Toby Prochnicki is a registered nurse administrative supervisor at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center.

"We will keep the name RBI on the front of the building, and we created a bar name to go on the side of the building," Toby Prochnicki said of the nearly two-decade-old business that had shifted focus amid the pandemic.


RBI Bar and Grill, which opened in November 2005, was the first of several local restaurant and pub ventures owned by hospitality entrepreneurs Andy Roiniotis and Denny Trakas – and the last they sold. They took over the former Varsity Diner, which had closed six months after opening in 2004, and created RBI.

"We’d love to stay in the restaurant business, but restaurants need daily attention and we’re inundated with travel right now for Rock’n Vodka," Roiniotis said, referring to the fast-growing spirit company he and Trakas launched in 2019 with Roiniotis's wife, Isabelle, and which Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Rick Nielsen joined in January 2020.

In January 2021, Roiniotis and Trakas sold District Bar and Grill and Stockyard Rock Burger Bar in Rockford, along with Onyx Bar and Grill in Machesney Park, to their former regional manager, Billy Ni. According to Roiniotis, Rock’n Vodka is now in 12 states and its distribution is expanding throughout Canada too.

To manage labor shortages during the pandemic, Roiniotis shifted RBI's focus to its brunch options, marketing the business as a spot where you could have breakfast and lunch with a bloody Mary while catching a game on a big-screen TV. The Prochnickis are keeping the 17 TVs and have added two more.

"The brunch menu is a hit, so we are definitely keeping that," Toby Prochnicki said, referring to such dishes as churro waffles, breakfast tacos, doughnut towers, avocado toast, loaded Texas biscuits, and strawberry-banana Swedish pancakes with Nutella. These and other breakfast and lunch options are available daily until 3 p.m.

Starting this week, after 3 p.m. and until 8 p.m., the Prochnickis have added dinner service. For now, the dishes available are those on the brunch menu. In several weeks, ordering off their new bourbon-themed dinner menu will be available.

Options on the dinner menu will include entrees like bourbon-glazed Atlantic salmon and a bourbon-glazed Duroc Frenched pork chop. There are burgers, wraps, salads and appetizers, not all of which will be glazed with the specialty American whiskey that's the Prochnickis’ theme. Chicken street tacos and steak-skewer appetizers, however, will be.

One challenge in the transfer of ownership — obtaining liquor and gaming licenses under a different entity — isn't an issue here. Toby Prochnicki said she and her husband spent several months going through the necessary steps to obtain these licenses and that both already are in place.

When the kitchen closes at 8 p.m. nightly, Bourbon Street Lounge remains open until midnight for drinks and video gaming.

Though bourbon inspired the remodeling and the menu, the Prochnickis will continue to serve all types of alcohol. The 16 beers they have on draft include locally brewed craft options from Prairie Street Brewing Co. in Rockford and Pig Minds Brewing Co. in Machesney Park.

"We have drastically increased the alcohol selection here and it will always include Rock’n Vodka," Toby Prochnicki said. "Dave has had a long-lasting friendship with Andy Roiniotis and that led us to buying RBI."

Initials in the name stand for Restaurant Bar Ice cream, a nod to the concept of the previous business at that location, Varsity Diner.

"When we took over the property in 2005, there were three separate entrances: one for a diner, one for a small bar, and one for an ice cream parlor," Roiniotis said. "That concept didn't work for us, but the name worked when we transitioned to a sports bar."

And it still does.

"We don't have ice cream," Toby Prochnicki said, "but kept the name because the food is popular."

Where: 3870 N. Perryville Road, Rockford

Hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily for brunch; 3 to 8 p.m. daily for dinner; slots and bar remain open untilmidnight

Brunch menu: See it here

Dinner menu: See it here.

On the web:

Phone: 815-877-5592

This article is by freelance journalist Helen Karakoudas. Email feedback to [email protected].

Where: Hours: Brunch menu: here Dinner menu: here On the web: Phone: