June 12, 2008

Yellow Rose restaurant in Downtown Racine closing June 28

The Yellow Rose restaurant in Downtown Racine is closing on June 28. The owners decided not to renew their contract with the building at Fourth and Main streets.

Scott and Patrice Sebastian, owner of Sebastian's in Caledonia, opened The Yellow Rose in 2004. The restaurant received great reviews from former Journal-Sentinel critic Dennis Ghetto and a review for Milwaukee Magazine.

After closing Yellow Rose, the Sebastians plan to focus their efforts on Sebastian's, their Caledonia restaurant.

"Being able to focus on just one restaurant will allow us to further our goal to make Sebastian's one of the best restaurants in the state," said Scott Sebastian.

Those of us with longer memories remember the restaurant as Criag and Helen's Bistro. Actually, those with really long memories remember it as the Bistro, then the Pasta Grille, and then Craig and Helen's Bistro again -- all under the same ownership. Far as we know, the building is still owned by Helen Johnson-Leipold and her hockey-team-owning husband Craig. The adjoining building, which has housed the Grotto since October 2007 and shares the Yellow Rose/Bistro kitchen is owned by the Johnson family (yes, that Johnson family) as well. The Grotto is a banquet/conference room space best known to those who haven't been inside for its fiberglass cow on the sidewalk from Chicago's "Cows on Parade" street art display.

Although the menu changed when the Sebastians leased the Bistro's space, the decor did not.

It's a beautiful location for a restaurant, but I suspect parking is an issue. Salute does well, though, so hopefully somebody gives it a shot.

In a few weeks, another restaurant will open on the same corner, directly across the street. Sticky Rice, formerly located on the second floor balcony of the Historic Century Market on Sixth Street, will open on the northeast corner of Fourth and Main in the building most recently occupied by Braun's Wines (and before that by the Racine County Convention and Visitors Bureau). And, of course, Whey Chai still resides on the southwest corner of the same intersection, so we're unlikely to starve regardless what happens.

CORREX: The Journal Times reported Friday that the Yellow Rose's building is owned by "Design Partners, a commercial graphics company based above the restaurant. Design Partners needs the additional space for its own growth."


  1. Is the Racine Post a blog or a serious news outlet or can't they decide? For all of Dustin's professional experience as a reporter and editor, one would think that he could do a better job of reporting. But alas, the Racine Post is becoming known for their errors, inaccuracies, falsehoods and inuendos. In fact, it appears to be the Racine version of the National Enquirer. Once again, Dustin rights a slanted story filled with inaccuracies and the type of comments one would never find in a legitimate news source. For example, Block writes-
    "Far as we know, the building is still owned by Helen Johnson-Leipold and her hockey-team-owning husband Craig."

    First, why didn't Block do his homework and verify who owns the building or even the fact that Design Partners is expanding?

    Second, what kind of comment is "her hockey-team-owning husband"?

    Are you making a judgment about him? Are you trying to stir up something? Maybe a little jealous?

    Then Block writes "The adjoining building, which has housed the Grotto since October 2007 and shares the Yellow Rose/Bistro kitchen is owned by the Johnson family (yes, that Johnson family) as well."

    What does he mean by "yes, that Johnson family." Once again class envy?

    The Racine Post has a long way to go....

  2. Why can't it be a bit of both.
    Sounds to me as if you have a bug up your butt about something.

  3. Geez, anonymous, how do you really feel? You should be careful yourself about throwing around accusations ... more than one person writes our stories.

    That said, like everyone, we make mistakes and the story corrects the error. When we broke the news about the Yellow Rose closing yesterday, an employee at the restaurant told us they were closing June 20. The Sebastians later put out a release saying they're closing June 28, so we updated the story immediately.

    As for jealousy of Leipold and the Johnson family ... honestly, I wouldn't mind owning a hockey team.

    Thanks for the comment, right (er, write) any time!

  4. 1. Apologies for that error -- which was corrected transparently eight hours before you jumped on it.
    2. Craig does own a hockey team. We knew him when he owned Rainfair. Good for him. I have all my teeth, and I ain't jealous.
    3. No class envy either: there are readers who might not know Sam and Gene own the Grotto.
    4. And for the record, all three points that got your knickers in a knot were inserted in the story by me.

  5. I'd like to go on record and say I'm not anonymous.

    I'll also say the Racine Post had the story first. It was in response to Pete's inquiry that we issued a press release.

    P.S. Shoot me an e-mail if you guys want to talk more at length.

  6. We went in this place once. The waiter (and manager) asked several times if we wanted refills on our sodas. We were shocked when itemized on our bill was 2 or 3 dollars (I can't remember) times six for the sodas. Talk about burning your customers. The food was overpriced for what it was and one can't be very choosy in Racine, but the soda slam did the trick.

  7. Winter Witch6/15/2008 5:50 PM

    Someone has a real bee in their bonnet or behind. Racine Post is becoming known for it's really good news reporting, happenings in Racine, humor and damn good writing.

    Seems to me someone is jealous of the Racine Post or wants to make the readers think that the Racine Post has a bug over the Johnsons. No one took it like that, it was a plain well written story, which is getting harder and harder to find in Racine EXCEPT with the Racine Post.

    Class envy? I don't think so, I think it is a blasted fine piece.

  8. Colt loves the Racine Post!

  9. Out of respect for the people who will be losing jobs and the customers who enjoy the restaurant I think it's low class to parody the name on the front page.

    Imagine after four years of hard work that you decided to stop doing the Post and the Journals Times refered to it as the "Racine Poops". Would it bother you? Would it be fair? Would it be professional journalism?

  10. I happen to be one of those employee's (former) and I think Wilted Rose is quite the fitting tag line for what I had experienced there. Should have never left that other successful restaurant to work at this place.