I invite you to attend a community meeting regarding a proposal to establish a restaurant with an incidental liquor license at 1248-60 W. Devon (at Lakewood) (see photo of location on right).
The meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 9th, 7:00 p.m., at St Ignatius Church, 6559 N. Glenwood, in the Canteen Room, which is located on the east side of the building adjacent to the parking lot.
Marcus Sulejmani, owner of the building and the proposed restaurant, and his attorneys, Dean Maragos and Jim Nally, will be available to discuss the proposal.
This would be Mr. Sulejmani’s third restaurant. The others are the Reservoir at 812 W. Montrose (see photo on left) andHops and Barley, at 4359 N. Milwaukee.
An incidental liquor license allows a restaurant owner to sell alcohol so long as the alcohol sales are “incidental” to the service of food, i.e., do not constitute more than 50% of the business revenue.
The zoning on the property allows for a restaurant with an incidental liquor license, but several impediments stand in the way. The property currently resides in an area where the sale of alcohol is prohibited. The precinct in which the property is located was voted “dry” in 1936 under a state law, which gives voters in Chicago through a “local option referendum,” an opportunity to vote on the question of whether to prohibit the sale of liquor in their precinct.
That same law also gives voters in the precinct the option to remove the prohibition on the sale of alcohol. This can be done in one of two ways:
The first method is through another local option referendum, which asks voters if they wish to continue the prohibition on alcohol sales in the precinct. Placing a referendum on the ballot requires the signatures of25% of the registered voters in the precinct. The ban on alcohol sales is removed only if a majority of the people voting on the question vote to discontinue the prohibition.
The second method avoids a referendum, but requires a petition signed by two-thirds of the registered voters to lift the moratorium.
The precinct boundaries have changed since the 1936 referendum, which complicates matters somewhat. Attorney Jim Nally, an election law specialist, will walk us through the law and the relevant geographical boundaries for each method.
Finally, when the area was in the 40th Ward, Alderman O’Connor sponsored and passed an ordinance imposing a moratorium on the sale of liquor along Devon Avenue. If the applicants are successful at convincing the voters to support lifting the prohibition either through a referendum or petition, I would sponsor an ordinance lifting the moratorium on liquor sales for the portion of Devon Avenue that includes the proposed business.
If both the prohibition and moratorium are lifted, the applicant must still go through the process of applying for a liquor license through the City of Chicago Liquor Control Commission.
I urge you to attend the meeting to find out more about the proposed restaurant and the process for lifting the prohibition on alcohol sales. If you are unable to attend, please feel free to share your thoughts on the proposal by replying to this email.