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Cannova's to open in Monroe
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MONROE - Something new is cooking on the Square.

Cannova's, an Italian restaurant with locations in Freeport and Galena, Ill. and Neenah, Wis., plans to open its newest restaurant on the Square in Monroe this year.

Pat and Linda Beckman, owners of Cannova's in Freeport, are meeting with architects next week to get ideas for the building that will fill the empty southeast corner lot of the Square. They purchased the lot last week.

"It'll be pretty much like it is here (in Freeport)," Pat Beckman said Friday. "We want it to look like it's been there for 100 years."

The Monroe restaurant will also have similar menus, including Italian-style cod, steak, veal chops, veal Parmesan, and pizza. They plan to also sell beer and wine.

Beckman was "watching the sauce" Friday at the restaurant in Freeport, but he said his wife Linda is the real chef.

"Both of her grandmothers are from New Orleans, so there's a little of that in her dishes," he said.

Beckman said they have been looking at expanding into Monroe for about three to four years.

"We looked at several places to re-hab, but nothing seemed to have the right fit," he said.

The southeast corner of the Square gives a nice view of the setting sun and looks out on to the historic courthouse, he said, and the undeveloped lot is an opportunity to design an appropriate-styled building.

Beckman is hoping the building will accommodate at least 100 people and still have room for the restaurant's signature piece - a grand piano. The piano in the Freeport restaurant, where Monroe pianists perform live, is Cannova's connection to the area, he added.

Anthony Cannova, a native of Sicily, founded Cannova's in 1921 in Freeport. He passed the business to his son Frank in 1964.

Frank's daughter Linda and her husband Pat took over in 1983. Linda's sister Debbie, and her husband Kyle Rasmus, operate the Neenah restaurant.