Rosita’s to add dining room, outdoor patio

By Dan Jacobson

Rosita’s Mexican Restaurant recently has begun construction on a larger dining room with an outdoor patio that will allow the restaurant to attain a full liquor license.

Rosita’s, 642 E. Lincoln Hwy., will be expanding its west wall into the neighboring lot. Owner Rosa Balli said the addition will have a 300-person capacity as well as the only outdoor patio at a DeKalb restaurant.

With the new addition, Rosita’s will be able to qualify for a class E liquor license. DeKalb Liquor Commissioner Greg Sparrow said a class E license allows a restaurant to sell any type of alcohol but does not include any package carry-out.

“To get a class E license the restaurant needs to have either 3,000 square feet of dining room or a 300-person capacity,” Sparrow said.

An E license requires the restaurant to have no less than 60 percent of its sales on food and no more than 40 percent of its sales on alcohol, he said.

“As long as the restaurant sits as it is, they do not qualify (for an E license).”

Sparrow said Rosita’s presently has a class B liquor license which allows the restaurant to sell only beer and wine. This kind of license is reserved for mainly pizza restaurants, he said.

In the past, Sparrow said, the city put a limit on how many class E liquors licenses were going to be issued. This limit was discontinued to attract bigger businesses to DeKalb.

“We had to look at the financial magnitude of some of the restaurants that might come into this area,” he said. Restaurants would be more attracted to the area if they knew they could have a full liquor license, he added.

Along with the new dining room, some new benefits will be available for customers. “We’ll be offering some new items but there won’t be any price changes,” she said.

“We have a lot of good business in DeKalb,” she said. “We want to expand our business for the future and for our customers.”

While Margaritas, popular Mexican drinks, will be sold, there will not be a bar added to the restaurant, she said.

“Our family has been in DeKalb for at least 25 years,” Balli said. “Rosita’s has been here for 20 years. We have owned the lot (on the west side of the building) for years and have wanted to expand on to it for awhile.

“We expanded into this building in 1983, and we are now expanding again 10 years later,” she said. “A lot of our customers are excited about the expansion.”

Balli said she foresees no closures of the restaurant during construction with the addition being completed sometime in January or February.

“We have a lot of good business in DeKalb. We want to expand our business for the future and for our customers.”