When Rick and Kathy Lopez bought the little restaurant on 38th Street, they had no idea it was haunted. However, the five floating ghosts fit the vibe they were going for perfectly, so no complaints there.
The COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues deserve more complaints, but like many monsters featured in the spooky restaurant, Igor’s Bistro took the hits and carried on.
“We’ve been together for 43 years, and you’d think that would have separated us,” Rick Lopez said. “It’s a lot of work, and COVID, all that, but we’re still alive. We’re still here.”
Igor’s Bistro, 3055 38th St., Rock Island, creates an eerie atmosphere to enjoy spooky cuisine. It is a combination of passions for the owners.
Rick Lopez can trace his love for Halloween back to his childhood over 50 years ago. After a trick or treating, he and other kids would go to a neighbor’s Halloween party and have fun with dancing apples, scary stories and more. He remembers looking around and thinking he wanted to use the holidays to make people happy, just like his neighbor.
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When he retired from his job as a carpenter, Rick Lopez found the perfect time to create a space where he could celebrate Halloween all year round.
“I took my love of Halloween and my passion for cooking and put it together,” said Rick Lopez.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused business to plummet at Bistro d’Igor like many other restaurants, but the restaurant was able to pivot by implementing a drive-thru window and quick meal options like burritos for lunch. breakfast. They were able to survive, Rick Lopez said, and are still going strong despite supply chain issues.
While Halloween is always the busiest time of year for the restaurant, all signs point to this holiday season being its most popular yet. Customers lined up for an hour and a half on the evening of October 1, dressed in suits and clothes that would glow under the black lights.
Igor’s hosts Tarot Readings and Black Light Dinners every Friday and Saturday, respectively, throughout October. The events were packed, the couple said, as people heard about it on social media. They hope to hold programs such as murder mystery dinners in the future.
Patrons from all over the Midwest and beyond stopped by the bistro, admiring the spooky decor as they dined. Some even brought their own memorabilia to add to the collection, Rick Lopez said. Standing at the kitchen window overlooking the dining room, it’s obvious that it’s not just the atmosphere that customers appreciate.
“I look here, and you see kids looking everywhere and parents looking everywhere, taking pictures,” Rick Lopez said. “Then I watch them when they’re eating, and it’s like this guy hasn’t put that sandwich down since he got here, so he must really like it.”
The couple plan to retire from day-to-day restaurant operations eventually, giving themselves more time to plan events and take vacations to see other unique businesses like theirs.
Their children helped create and sustain their dream, Kathy Lopez said, from serving to creating energy drinks and learning about different areas of the business.
“It’s been a total family affair,” Kathy Lopez said. “Our three children have worked here and helped out.”
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