LANSING, Ill. (September 28, 2023) – Four female friends are looking to make their mark on the local restaurant and entertainment scene.
And when the site of the former Outriggers restaurant (2352 172nd St in the Lansing Commons plaza off of Torrence Avenue) became available, the longtime pals jumped at the opportunity.
Soon The Rhoyal Bistro Live will bring new energy to the spot that was once Outriggers, then Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop before it moved to another location further south on Torrence, and then Outriggers again.
Shaneka Dyson, Siobhan Robinson, and Dianca White attended Thornridge High School together in the 1990’s and knew each other even prior to that. Later, White met Natasha Robinson (no relation to Siobhan) at Southern Illinois University.
“We wanted to invest in something together,” Dyson said.
And that is how The Rhoyal Bistro Live came to be, the name being a play on the friends’ shared history.
“Coincidentally, we all joined the same sorority,” Dyson said.
The Sigma Gamma Rho sorority is where the “Rho” in “Rhoyal” comes from.
Entertainment, brunch, events
The Rhoyal Bistro Live will offer a full bar and restaurant, along with live entertainment.
“We will have live entertainment three to four times per week,” Dyson said.
The plan is to have local artists and also more well known acts that were popular years ago take the stage.
There will be Sunday brunches, and semi-private rooms will allow for dinner parties, birthday parties, and corporate events.
“It’s a very unique concept,” Dyson said.
Dyson said the culinary style will be “American Fusion,” which she said means there will be a variety that includes American items, seafood, Cajun dishes, and pasta.
The restaurant will have more than one chef, but a lead person in charge of the bar has already been chosen to stir up specialty drinks.
“We have a mixologist,” White said.
Prepping to open
The four co-owners have had the space they are leasing since March but had to go through all the procedures of opening a new business, including obtaining a liquor license.
“We had to get the special permits that were required by Lansing to have live entertainment and outdoor seating,” Dyson said.
The addition of outdoor seating is something that will likely take place next year.
Dyson called the remodeling work being done to the inside of the building “purely cosmetic.”
“We’re not knocking any walls,” Dyson said. “We’re not building any walls. We’re not doing any structural changes to the restaurant.”
The four friends are new to the restaurant business, but not to the business world.
“We’re all educated,” Dyson said. “We’re all business owners. We’re from this area. We came back to the area where we literally grew up in to start this business.”
Dyson owns the Jump N’ Jam Playland, an indoor inflatable party facility that since 2019 has been located in the Landings shopping area at 16795 Torrence Ave.
She said in addition to The Rhoyal Bistro Live location being near the expressway and Indiana, working with the Village of Lansing was another attractive aspect compared to dealings she has had with other Chicago suburbs.
“Lansing was probably the best business relationship as far as a municipality that I’ve ever had when it comes to opening a business,” Dyson said.
The Rhoyal Bistro Live will likely employ 30 to 40 people and the plan is for it to be open seven days a week.
Dyson said the hope is to attract a more mature crowd, although younger people won’t be turned away.
“The music selection of what we’re trying to do is not going to be catering to a younger crowd,” Dyson said.
Fueled by friendship
Dyson thinks the fact that four long-time friends are doing this together is what makes their story a special one.
“We’re like next to family,” Dyson said.
And although White said each meeting is started with a prayer, that doesn’t mean there are not disagreements.
“It’s every day,” Dyson said. It’s every hour.”
But Dyson said the four went into it knowing their relationship would not be affected and disagreements are kept within the walls of the business.
White said working as a team is something the four were not accustomed to previously.
“Everybody is the boss in their business and then when you come together it’s all an even playing field, so it’s a little different,” White said.
But White said the friends share a common goal of wanting to succeed and that although a general manager and assistant managers have been hired, that doesn’t mean the four won’t be visible.
“We’re gonna be here,” White said. “Oh, we’re working. You will see us.”
No exact date has been set, but Natasha Robinson said October 15 is being looked at as the possible date of the grand opening.
The Rhoyal Bistro Live will be located at 2352 172nd Street in Lansing.
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