Biz Buzz Monday: Area pub reopens under new ownership

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Business tips sought

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. In addition to this update from Elizabeth, Ill., we will share additional developments in Tuesday’s edition.

ELIZABETH, Ill. — A Jo Daviess County bar has reopened under new ownership.

OJ and Becky Stapleton are the new owners of Old Jug’s (OJ’s) Main Street Tap at 200 N. Main St. in Elizabeth. The couple recently moved to the area from Kentucky to take over the downtown business.

“We have some friends in the area who we’ve been coming up to visit for years, and we just fell in love with the area,” OJ Stapleton said. “The bar came up for sale, and we always loved coming here when we came to visit so we just decided to go for it.”

The bar, previously known as Jug’s, closed in May of 2023 but reopened under the Stapletons earlier this month. The couple held a robustly attended soft opening June 1 and opened for regular hours this past weekend.

Most of the food and drink offerings have remained the same, Stapleton said, and the space required minimal renovations ahead of the reopening.

Currently, the kitchen offers pub classics such as burgers, pizza and appetizers, with the intent to expand into daily or rotating specials over the next few months. The bar also touts a variety of beer and hand-mixed cocktail options.

“I’ve always had a passion for cooking and cocktails,” OJ Stapleton said. “Now, I’m back in the kitchen and cooking things up and getting behind the bar. It’s been great.”

Already, he said the support from the Elizabeth area has been enormous. The soft opening sold out of several items, he said, and he’s heard from numerous people how excited they are to see the bar in its former glory.

Moving forward, he expressed interest in maintaining that momentum and offering a community hub for area residents.

“There were two or three people (during the soft opening) who told me this place could be a gold mine,” he said. “And that’s nice, but I’m not really in this for the money. I’m hoping to turn the space into a gold mine for the community and bring back a business that people loved so much.”

Old Jug’s is open six days a week, closed on Wednesdays. The kitchen is open 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The bar is open until midnight Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday and through 1:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.