31 Forest Ave., Riverside (Google Maps)

Riverside’s newest downtown bar/restaurant, The Sandtrap Grill & Tap, opened its doors Aug. 18 at 31 Forest Ave., with the owners saying they’ll be open limited hours and offering a limited menu until they officially cut the ribbon on Sept. 3.

“We’re in the process of working out the kinks, but we’re finally glad to be able to utilize the space,” said Sandtrap co-owner Chris Connelly after being granted permission by the village board to open an outdoor seating area along Forest Avenue in front of the restaurant.

Connelly owns the business with Manthan Desai, and the two have been working to get the space remodeled and code compliant since last summer. Connelly and Desai have been friends since high school, and Connelly is a relatively new resident of Riverside.

When Mollie’s Public House closed its doors for good in March 2021, the two decided the location was right for their golf-themed eatery.

“We decided it might be a great opportunity in Riverside, which is such a tight-knit community,” Desai said last August.

Until Sept. 3, it may be best to check The Sandtrap’s Facebook page to confirm hours of operation. The restaurant does not have a website yet. Until Sept. 3, the menu will be limited to poppers, pizza puffs, chicken tenders, fries and onion rings. The full menu, when it’s launched, will feature burgers, chicken sandwiches and other pub fare.

“After the grand opening, we’ll have the full menu,” said Connelly.

According to Connelly they’re still working to get the restaurant/bar fully staffed. Last week, their business’ Facebook page advertised positions for bartenders and food servers.

On Aug. 18, Riverside trustees voted unanimously to approve an outdoor café permit for The Sandtrap, which will utilize a 45-by-11-foot space south of the public sidewalk. The area can accommodate about 30 diners, according to a memo in the village board meeting packet.

The memo also states that the Sandtrap’s hours of operation will be Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight. The outdoor dining area must close at 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, per the village code.