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Manny's moves into Sterling; Domino's departs Dixon

Popular eatery to open shop in former La Mex site

Pizza comes, and pizza goes.

For years, fans of Manny's Pizza have been salivating over rumors that the popular eatery planned to open shop in Sterling.

Dreams came close to reality in July 2012, when Manny Castro, owner/operator of Manny’s Pizza in Savanna and Manny’s Too in Fulton, made a down payment on the former Ryan’s Family Steakhouse, 3900 E. Lincolnway.

That deal fell through, though, after Ryan's parent company, Buffets Inc., filed for bankruptcy that January, and mold was found in the building.

But the dream has blazed back to life: Manny's Pizza & Tacos will open at 11 a.m. Jan. 31 in downtown Sterling, in the site of the short-lived La Mex restaurant at 312 Locust St.  

The 4,500-square-foot, family-owned restaurant will feature Manny's signature pizza and tacos – basically the same menu as its other sites, said Castro’s daughter, Kathy Kingery. There also will be a full-service bar.

She and a handful of friends, family and others were hard at work at the new venue Monday, when the sounds of hammering and vacuuming and the scent of fresh paint filled the air.

Happily, the warm Mexican décor fits the Manny's theme, so not much remodeling is needed, Kingery said.

Manny's also is known in its communities for supporting local schools with fundraisers and other events; that tradition will continue here, Kingery said.

For starters, Manny's will be open Wednesday through Sunday, she said, and Tuesday hours will be added once staffing allows.

And while one Sauk Valley pizza parlor prepares to expand, another has called it quits.

Domino's Pizza, 122 N. Peoria Ave. in Dixon, is no more.

Franchisee Arif Kahn closed up shop Friday, Domino's reported Monday. He did not provide a reason, the company said, and Kahn could not be reached for comment.

Kahn also closed his restaurant at 2501 E. Lincolnway in Sterling in June 2012 when his lease expired, Domino’s spokeswoman Jen Hug said at the time. Attempts to move elsewhere in Sterling or Rock Falls were unsuccessful.

A Domino's franchise in Freeport also closed a few years ago.

For those who have the craving, the Domino's restaurant nearest Lee County residents is in Rockford; Whiteside County folks will have to travel across the Big Muddy, to Clinton, Iowa.

Manny's opening soon

Manny's Pizza & Tacos will open at 312 Locust St. in Sterling at 11 a.m. Jan. 31.

The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday and on Sunday, and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tuesday hours will be added once staffing allows, owner Kathy Kingery said.

The Castro family also owns and operates Manny's Pizza, 211 Main St. in Savanna, 815-273-4259, and Manny's Too, 305 11th Ave. in Fulton, 815-589-2520.

Find it on Facebook or go to for menus and more information.

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