CLINTON - On a recent rainy spring day, you would have to use your imagination to see the vision Clinton leaders have for the restaurant at the city's new marina.
Rather than cold drizzle and a few gulls, city leaders see diners inside the restaurant enjoying the view of the Mississippi River and the city's $7 million marina, which opened last year, or enjoying a drink on the sun-splashed deck as boats cruise by.
After a search that lasted more than a year and several months of work putting the finishing touches on the restaurant in the upper level of the marina amenities building, that vision will become reality this week.
Matt Prescott, owner of the Candlelight Inn restaurants operated by his family in Rock Falls, Ill., and Sterling, Ill., will open a new Candlelight Inn location at the marina, just north of the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre. The doors will open Monday.
Clinton Mayor Rodger Holm said he was glad the Prescott family agreed to operate the marina restaurant.
"They're a quality organization, and they're very successful in the Sterling-Rock Falls area," Holm said.
The interior of the restaurant has a nautical theme, decorated with knick-knacks that feature fishermen, boat anchors, props and steering wheels, and sketches of riverboats against walls painted a greenish-gray.
Prescott said his mother and her friends were in charge of the interior design.
The menu will be much like the ones at the Rock Falls and Sterling locations, featuring everything from steaks to sandwiches. Prescott said there could be some localized changes in the menu, but he will wait to see what the local crowd wants before making any decisions.
He has hired 85 new employees for the Clinton location and brought six employees from the Sterling and Rock Falls restaurants to help get the restaurant started.
The Clinton marina, which also features 96 slips, a fuel dock, party barge, ship store, showers and laundry facility, recently was awarded an Eddy Award by River Action Inc. The judges noted it has "amenities all boaters need but seldom find at marinas."
Julie Allesee, president of the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce, said the restaurant is a welcome addition to the city's riverfront.
"We're excited to have another restaurant to serve our boaters and our residents," Allesee said.