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Local Business

Couple gets in the small biz mix, opens martini bar

Former home Grapevine reopens as Bartini's in Rock Falls

Kim Kilday, who recently opened Bartini’s downtown, has bartended a long time, although martinis didn’t use to be her forte, per se.

Honestly, though, is there a better gig than experimenting, taste-testing and repeating, in order to perfect a drink?

No foolin’, on April 1, she and her husband, Mike, became first-time business owners by reopening the bar formerly known as Grapevine Wine & Martini Bar, 205 W. Second St. Grapevine was open fewer than 2 years when it closed last year.

“We definitely wanted to capitalize on a place that wasn’t even open for very long,” said Mike, who works full-time for ComEd. Kim is office manager at Slim & Hanks in Sterling. “It’s basically turnkey. A little bit of elbow grease is all.”

The menu boasts more than 25 martinis, including a weekly special, and the bar also offers wine, liquor – including a nice selection of scotch, whiskey and bourbon – and about a dozen beers.

Martinis are the chief focus, but Kim is proud to serve wines from Wide River Winery in Clinton, Iowa.

Sticking with an emphasis on shopping local, the Kildays hired Rock Falls sculptor and artist John Gragert to design its signs.

The 1,200-square-foot, 54-person maximum-occupant bar doesn’t serve food, but allows carry-ins.

“We’re surrounded by places with good food, and I’ve got a drawer full of menus,” Kim said.

Once the weather gets nice – and stays that way – the couple expects the deck in the back, complete with music and a breathable canopy the wind won’t blow away, to be a hot spot.

Fans of Grapevine shouldn’t expect any jarring changes, aside from the huge flatscreen TV behind the bar.

“I didn’t want a TV, but people said they wanted it,” Mike said. “We’re not a sports bar, but you have to give people what they want.”

Similarly, the Kildays are somewhat reluctantly awaiting the nod from the state gambling board so their video gambling machines can be installed.

“We’re not gamblers,” he said, “But just to compete, you’ve got to have it.”

“We’d rather be known for our martinis, and being a quiet, relaxing place,” Kim said.

The couple is leasing the property.

“We’re hoping to outgrow this and get into our own place, somewhere bigger – or maybe eventually buy this,” Mike said.


Bartini's, 205 W. Second St., Rock Falls, offers more than 25 martinis, as well as wines, beer and more. It's open from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, from 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, from 3 p.m. to midnight Friday, and from noon to midnight Saturday.

Video gambling is available.

Find Bartini's on Facebook, or call 815-632-3493 for more information.

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