December 6, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Hometown appeal: The Wheelhouse earns Business of the Year honors

When the Wheelhouse opened in 2017, it was unlike anything in St. Joseph.


And still is.


The farm-to-table restaurant owned by Ryan Rogiers and his wife, Abbie Layden-Rogiers, was selected as the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year. The restaurant will be honored at the annual chamber banquet on April 25.


The Wheelhouse is an environmentally friendly restaurant situated along the Kickapoo Rail Trail. The fresh meats, vegetables, fruits and cheese are locally sourced when possible.


Staying local was important to both Abbie, a former social worker and current realtor who now runs the front of the restaurant, and Ryan, who previously worked at Alinea, a Chicago restaurant ranked first in North America by S. Pellegrino.


“We opened up our restaurant in Saint Joseph because we are passionate about all things local,” Abbie said.


Abbie said buying local food benefits local farmers, which is important to the couple. As are the health benefits for their customers since the produce is organic and the fact that using local products creates less of an ecological footprint. 


“So, it made perfect sense for us to open up right in our hometown, so we are also local to the restaurant,” Abbie said.


The Wheelhouse was selected as Business of the Year because they host a variety of community events and have worked to make their restaurant a space where anyone in the community can feel welcome.


Abbie said that is something the couple has strived to do.


“I think as we’ve gotten older, along with the joy it has brought us to come back home, we both have a deeper understanding and appreciation for participating in community,” she said.


The couple said they are pleased they can provide a platform for people in the community to meet and speak with each other. This includes not only social events, like Trivia Night, but also hosting political meet-and-greets for candidates.


“It’s a great way for community members to get educated on local candidates,” Abbie said. “And our trivia nights are full of laughter.”


The restaurant also hosts poetry nights and live music.


“I think a small town is greatly expanded by making these events available and also greatly enriched,” Abbie said. “It’s  important to us that The Wheelhouse is a place where people can gather and have fellowship.”


The couple also said their staff was part of the reason the business was successful.


“We love our staff,” Abbie said. “We have a great staff. We all get along beautifully, they are reliable and good with people and do actually care about what they are doing.” 


Abbie said the couple has gained numerous friends from the Wheelhouse and have developed relationships that they value very much. It is also gratifying for the couple to watch their customers grow relationships with each other.


“All of the regulars know each other well now, and have great fondness for each other,” she said.  


For his part, Ryan said the best part of owning a restaurant is serving people, and Abbie agreed.


“My other favorite thing is to be in kitchen and hear people laughing out front,” she said. “It always makes me smile.”


Owning their own business that has become a village mainstay has come with some challenges.


Ryan stressed that owning a business isn’t for the faint of heart. Abbie echoed that sentiment and said the business means long hours, especially for Ryan.


“It feels like a never-ending to-do list,” she said. “The hardest part for me was the adjustment for our family.”


Abbie said it means less time with the kids, fewer dinners at the table and fewer chances to attend their children’s athletic events.


The couple said the financial part of owning a business is also huge and is a large financial risk.


“So on weeks that are slow, money is always on your mind,” Abbie said.


Still, the couple wouldn’t change a thing. They’ve found a fit in St. Joseph.


“One of the best things for me is meeting new people almost every day and getting to know more and more people in our town. ” Abbie said. “We are filled with so many interesting and wonderful people in St. Joseph.”

Banner
Related Posts

Live at St. Joseph Village Board

May 26, 2020

May 26, 2020

They are discussing a variance for a property. I am in two zoom meetings currently. SJO School Board and St....

Franzen chosen to lead middle school

March 30, 2021

March 30, 2021

The new St. Joseph Middle School Principal will be a familiar face. The St. Joseph Consolidated Community School Board voted...

Live at St. Joseph Village Board August 9, 2022

August 9, 2022

August 9, 2022

I am the only one in the audience so far. Thanks to MX electric for sponsoring our live blogs. They...

Allen reflects on state pageant

March 11, 2019

March 11, 2019

Gracyn Allen has been the Champaign County Fair Queen for almost eight months. Her 2019 has included everything from competing...

Kids Say… St. Joseph Second Grade

March 22, 2019

March 22, 2019

Every week we ask five students from a local school to answer a question on a worksheet. This week the...

Mayor to encourage board to allow trick-or-treating

October 1, 2020

October 1, 2020

St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges is going to encourage the village board to allow Trick-or-Treating. Fruhling-Voges said she had examined...

10 things you don’t know about me… Kelly Cooper

April 30, 2019

April 30, 2019

Ogden Village Trustee Kelly Cooper was elected in 2017. Since then she has worked diligently to make sure Ogden has...

Thursday closings and cancellations

February 13, 2020

February 13, 2020

Gallo Dance Studio has canceled class for 2/13. The Heritage Junior High volleyball game vs. Schlarman is canceled and also...

Haley’s lofty vision with SJO baseball has become reality

April 16, 2019

April 16, 2019

Josh Haley didn’t do anything elaborate after he achieved a coaching milestone earlier this month. For the St. Joseph-Ogden High...

Haan hopes to help Ogden grow

March 31, 2021

March 31, 2021

Jim Haan wants to help Ogden grow.  “Ogden is a safe, affordable, and friendly town and I want to keep...

Former SJO teacher Williams making a difference

December 23, 2019

December 23, 2019

Larry Williams wants to help people live a healthy life. Eight years ago, Williams and his partner participated in Christie...

Senior spotlight with Kolton Batty

October 31, 2019

October 31, 2019

Every week we ask a St. Joseph-Ogden senior five questions. This week we talked to Kolton Batty. What do you...

Success of students, FFA is what Duitsman will remember about her time at SJO

July 30, 2019

July 30, 2019

This August will be a little different for Katie Duitsman. The former St. Joseph-Ogden High School agriculture teacher will not...

Senior Spotlight…. Brayden Grimsey

September 5, 2019

September 5, 2019

Every week we ask an SJO senior five questions. This week we spoke to Brayden Grimsey. This post is sponsored...

Live at St. Joseph Village Board, Jan. 11, 2021

January 11, 2022

January 11, 2022

Village administrator Joe Hackney saying they need to have more cash on hand in the accounts instead of CDs because...

Comments
Leave a Reply