Weekend rehearsals prep Tony Sacco's for Monday, Dec. 14 opening in Eldridge


The Quad-Cities' newest restaurant opened privately this weekend for some dress rehearsals ahead of a Monday, Dec. 14 grand opening.

Tom Sacco, CEO, or Chief Happiness Officer, for the parent company of Tony Sacco's Coal Oven Kitchen, 350 E. LeClaire Road, Eldridge, greeted guests and guided a new crew through a menu far different from its next-door neighbor Happy Joe's.

Dynamic Restaurant Holdings, of Bettendorf, owns both chains.

Sacco isn't related to the new restaurant's namesake. He joined DRH after years with other national restaurant chains.

Dynamic Restaurant Holdings marketing vice president Kristel Whitty Ersan moved from table to table Saturday querying guests about their experiences. The daughter of Happy Joe's founder remains with the expanding company, and was part of the crew for this opening, helping coordinate design, furnishings and other details for the new Sacco's.

Tom Sacco plans big growth for both the Sacco's and Happy Joe's stores. He said the Eldridge Sacco's location will be a model shown to franchisee prospects.

The new restaurant features a coal-fired oven where almost all dishes are prepared. The restaurant has no deep fryers. Tater tots are prepared in the coal oven as one of the side dishes.

The menu includes burgers, steak, salmon, pizza and some signature appetizers.

Chef and manager Chris Anschutz said Friday and Saturday's run-through prepares new staff for Monday's opening. "This is all new to everyone," said Anschutz, who arrived here a month ago from  Pittsburgh. "Now everyone is taking Sunday off so we'll be ready."