Dessert shop specializing in Asian cuisine up-and-coming in Wheeling

An Asian-flavored dessert is coming to Wheeling’s Restaurant Row.

Mochinut next spring at 322 N. Milwaukee Avenue could open, village officials said Thursday. This is part of a national campaign launched in California in 2019.

A traditional Japanese snack, mochi is a rice cake that is ground into a paste and molded into any shape. The specialty of the mochinut is a dish that combines a cobbler donut with ice cream.


The menu will include boba tea drinks, Korean-style corn dogs, coffee drinks and more.

Mochinut is taking over a vacant building, formerly occupied by a home contracting business called Siding-1 Roofing-1 Exteriors. Naperville entrepreneur Grace Ryu has purchased the building and will convert it into a restaurant.

The village board on Monday approved a $45,606 municipal grant for renovations that will include building a kitchen, new interior walls, new floors, lighting work and exterior landscaping improvements.

The grant will come from Wheeling’s retail and restaurant build-out assistance program. Through that effort, business owners or property owners are reimbursed for up to half the cost of the project.


The board approved the grant without question or protest.

On Thursday, Trustee Mary Papantos said she was pleased to welcome a new business to Restaurant Row, which essentially runs along Milwaukee Avenue between Lake-Cook and Hintz Streets.

“Establishments that offer excellent, unique or diverse cuisine have made Restaurant Row, and (Mochinut) will help cement its reputation,” Papantos said.

Village manager John Svondillis was similarly enthusiastic.

“The Village of Wheeling is thrilled that this emerging concept has chosen Wheeling’s Restaurant Row as its next location,” he said.

Twenty-nine licensed and independently owned Mochinut shops operate in 21 states, documents indicate, including one in Chicago. In the Chicago area, stores are planned for the Arlington Heights, St. Charles, Glenview, Naperville and Lincoln Park neighborhoods.