ALTON - We’re Outside owner Troy Hughes had an experience he will never forget earlier this week. While serving lunch at his new popular restaurant, he had a visit from the Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker at his business.

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Alton Mayor David Goins said Pritzker was passing through on his way back to Springfield and he wanted to stop in at an Alton restaurant. We’re Outside, a business at 1692 Oakwood Avenue, was the business he chose to visit.

Gov. Pritzker expressed to Hughes how proud he was for what he did, building the business essentially with his own hands over the past year and a half.

Alton Mayor Goins said he thought that Pritzker's choice to visit the establishment was very appropriate considering it is Black Business Awareness Month.

“The way [Hughes] filled the restaurant with people so far and how he built the business with his own hands was a great story to share with the governor,” Goins said.

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Hughes said he was surprised when Gov. Pritzker and his staff came up to his counter to order lunch.

“It was a real moment,” Hughes said. “It felt so good to have him (Pritzker) visit and being a new business owner, it was so impromptu and inspirational.”

Gov. Pritzker mingled with some of those at the restaurant and the workers, along with Hughes. Hughes said the governor and his staff all seemed to enjoy their food.

“The business did take me about a year and a half to open,” Hughes said. “The public reception has been really nice. I was so proud to get the governor as a customer.”

At present, We’re Open has hours from 11 a.m. to 7 pm.. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and seating is outside with orders placed at one of two counters. The food is prepared on-site. The business will be seasonal and sometime later in fall close until March, the owner said. Seating for the restaurant is outside.

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