Roy Muñoz was just 17 years-old in 1987 when he moved to Kewanee from Mexico. As a teenager, Muñoz found work at a local family restaurant on Second Street. But after several years, he returned to Mexico. What he couldn’t forget about Kewanee though was the friendliness of its people.
Muñoz's dream was always to open a restaurant of his very own. Once back in Mexico, he got married and he and his wife, Pina, raised three children, but his dream of owning a restaurant never quite left him.
In 2017, he decided to bring his family back to Kewanee to a city where he had always felt welcomed. In just two short years, Muñoz had saved enough money and secured a location and in August of 2019, he realized his long-held dream by opening his restaurant Rony’s. The eatery is named after his son.
It wasn’t long after opening the restaurant, however, that the pandemic forced the closure of many businesses, especially restaurants. Muñoz said it was difficult but he managed to get through the shutdown by offering carry-out. Today, the restaurant has its regulars who swear by the quality of the food and the promptness of the service and the business is doing fine, but it could always be better, he said.
Rony’s restaurant offers a blend of both American and Mexican food and is located at 105 E. 2nd St. The spacious interior comfortably seats 40 diners.
The restaurant is the namesake of Rony Muñoz. At just 21 years-old, Rony pitches in at the restaurant by waiting and clearing tables and doing whatever needs to be done. Rony believes that one of the problems in attracting customers to his family’s restaurant is that the business doesn’t take credit or debit cards. It’s a strictly cash business, and he said it's unlikely to change.
Helen and Loren Nelson are regular customers to Rony’s, but they don’t mind the cash-only policy, they said. The couple discovered the restaurant when it first opened and have been coming for breakfast ever since.
“It’s clean, good service, good food and great coffee,” Helen Nelson said, adding that the quality of coffee is everything when it comes to the success of restaurants.
The couple’s favorite menu item and what they order most often is the breakfast sandwich with ham. That particular Sunday morning was no different, and they placed their breakfast order when Rony came around to fill their coffee mugs, which he did frequently
“The pancakes are also extremely good, light and fluffy,” she said.
In addition to serving up an all-day American breakfast, the restaurant offers Mexican fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The menu includes breakfast dishes of eggs and hashbrowns, steak and eggs, omelets and a Mexican skillet filled with chorizo, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and cheese. ‘
The specialty menu has some of Rony’s favorites of burritos, enchiladas, and flautas, but the restaurant also offers up the tried-and-true menu items of fajitas, nachos, tortas and quesadillas. And of course, tacos are on the menu and a local favorite.
The lunch and dinner prices range from $2 for a Mexican taco to $9.50 for a machaca, served with choice of steak, chicken, marinated pork, ground beef or chorizo. The dish comes with tortillas, beans and rice.
Rony’s is open Tuesday through Sunday from 7 am to 7 pm for dine-in or carry-out, and if you decide to give the local restaurant a try, make sure to bring your appetite and don’t forget to carry cash.
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