Pagliacci's building

Benny's Grill owner Benny Ballazhi of Decatur has purchased the former Pagliacci's property, 319 N. Logan St. in Mattoon, and plans to open restaurant there by late summer. 

MATTOON -- The owner of a Decatur restaurant has purchased the former Pagliacci's property and plans to open a cafe there by late summer.

Benny's Grill owner Benny Ballazhi of Decatur said he is still finalizing his plans for this property, 319 N. Logan St., but knows that he wants to offer breakfast, lunch and dinner there. Pagliacci's, which closed in early July, also served all three meals.

Ballazhi said he decided to open a Mattoon restaurant because he likes the Pagliacci's property. The building offers a main dining area and an adjacent banquet room, as well as a large parking lot in front and a smaller one in back.

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In addition, Ballazhi said he appreciates that the North Logan location is only a few blocks away from an Interstate 57 exit and from the Illinois Route 16 corridor that connects Mattoon with nearby Charleston. The Pagliacci's property is also located near the Roundhouse Sports Complex, which regularly draws youth sports from out of town.

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Ballazhi said he intends to open his new restaurant in the former Pagliacci's building by sometime in August.

Pagliacci's had been in business for nearly 21 years when its owners decided to close it, after the property had been on the market for a couple of years. This restaurant also was known for offering a catering service and a pizza buffet. The banquet room there had hosted regular meetings for service clubs and other community groups.

Ballazhi was already a veteran restaurateur in Decatur when he opened Benny's Grill in 2011 at 1770 E. Pershing Road. The grill's menu consists of burgers and other American cuisine, casual Italian, thin crust pizza, salads, soups, pasta, steaks and seafood. Benny's is open for lunch and supper, serves beer and wine, and offers a catering service.

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Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @TheRobStroud



Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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