Biz Buzz Monday: Longtime chef brings new flavor to downtown Galena

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. In addition to this update from Galena, Ill., we will highlight developments in Bellevue and Epworth, Iowa, on Tuesday.

An entrepreneur with three decades of restaurant experience has launched a popular new eatery in Galena.

Savory Kitchen opened its doors at 309 N. Main St. in February.

Owner James Ungs amassed about 30 years of experience working as a chef and food-and-beverage director at multiple establishments in the greater Chicago area. He said he has long had an eye on northwest Illinois.

“I had been looking to open a restaurant in the Galena market for a while, but nothing was available until recently,” he said. “It always seemed like a great place to start a restaurant. You can draw (customers) from the tourists and the local residents.”

Ungs said he focuses on using quality ingredients and finding the right combination of herbs, spices and seasonings to give his food a distinctive taste. In the early going, the homemade salad dressings, steak pinot noir and wild-caught Alaskan salmon have emerged as favorites among customers.

Ungs lives and breathes the business, operating the eatery with just one employee. But that is by design.

“I wanted a small staff so we could pay close attention to every detail when it comes to the food quality and the service,” he said.

He acknowledged that opening a restaurant in the midst of a pandemic came with its fair share of challenges. Still, he feels his business is on the right track.

“I had a lot of apprehension about the timing,” he said. “But we have been rewarded by a warm welcome from the community and from visitors. … Business has been building.”

Savory Kitchen serves lunch Tuesday through Saturday and dinner Wednesday through Saturday, although Ungs said the eatery’s hours soon could change. He also noted that Savory Kitchen soon will offer outdoor seating options, both in the street and on its patio.

The business can be reached at 815-281-9422.