Giovanni's to relocate banquets, preps for temporary casino site

ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- "Basically the Giovanni's [sign] will come down, and Hard Rock Cafe will go up," says Giovanni's Restaurant and Convention Center owner Joe Castrogiovanni. "The soonest we'll probably hear on anything would be sometime in late April or May."

Next steps for Giovanni's

The Illinois Gaming Board has 12 months to issue a license to the Hard Rock Casino, and if it does Giovanni's will be its temporary site.

The 37,000 square foot casino will include 736 slots, a Legacy Restaurant, a snack bar and main casino bar. This will displace the many events hosted at Giovanni's.

"We're going to start working with our clients and moving events to the different facilities in Rockford," Castrogiovanni tells 23 News. "We want to work closely with the park district."

As they work together with park district officials, Castrogiovanni says many of the events will relocate to the Rockford Bank and Trust Pavilion at the Aldeen Golf Club.

"Aldeen is a golf facility that's unlike any others in our region," says park district's Jay Sandine. "Since that pavilion has been there we have 13 new additional golf outings." 20,000 guests attended the pavilion since it's opening in 2018.

Castrogiovanni already operates the pavilion, but says after they exhaust the park district's locations, there will be other banquet facilities that will help.

"We'll be working with the Radisson, we'll be working with Franchesco's, Cliffbreakers and obviously the new Embassy Suites in downtown," he explains.

When the temporary casino is no longer needed, he says they are working toward joining the Hard Rock Brand altogether. "We'll be reopening as either Giovanni's Banquet and Convention Center, or the Hard Rock Convention Center."