ROCK FALLS – Diners no longer need to fear a potato soup famine at the former Rock Falls Hotel: The soup will be offered every day at the new Days Inn.
Dustin Hollenbach is the new general manager of the hotel at 2105 First Ave., which changed management Jan. 1. Associated Hotels managed it since October 2010. It still is owned by American Enterprise Bank of Chicago.
Hollenbach, originally from Pennsylvania, has lived in the Sauk Valley area for 14 years. Many of the hotel’s other managers have been from Chicago, he said, and weren’t familiar with the area.
But he is, and that’s why he will offer potato soup daily, made from a recipe similar to one that Bennigan’s used when it ran the hotel’s restaurant more than 5 years ago.
“When it was a Bennigan’s, they went through so much potato soup,” Hollenbach said.
The All American Bar & Grill will keep its name for the time being. Marsha Pegh, the new cook, formerly cooked at Rock River Country Club, he said, adding “I want a nice restaurant.”
A regular rotation of soups of the day also be offered, along with “Nashville-style” fried pickles, which are distinguished by their Old Bay seasoning and their crunchiness, he said.
He plans to offer free pickles for 2 weeks in mid-February or early March, so people will get hooked, he said.
Hollenbach also wants to ask Rock Falls High School students to create a burger to be called “The Rocket Burger,” which also will be featured.
Days Inn is a part of Wyndham Hotel Group, so guests will receive Wyndham rewards.
Some renovations were begun but not finished; he plans to finish the job, Hollenbach said.
TVs and bedding will be updated, the lobby will be renovated and breakfast will be offered in a separate room, instead of in the lobby. The continental breakfast will be expanded and will include fresh waffles.
The restaurant’s heating system also is getting $10,000 in repairs, a sign that Days Inn is invested in the hotel, he said.
Hollenbach also plans to create a new website and Facebook page for the hotel. For now, more information can be found at daysinn.com or at 815-626-5500.