In a precedent-setting move Monday, Flossmoor Village Board members said no to a liquor license for a proposed wine bar and lounge with slot machines and poker devices.
Village board members unanimously turned down the liquor license bid for Katie’s, which would have been located in what was formerly a medical office suite at Flossmoor Commons shopping center.
The vote can be seen as a signal to other businesses that Flossmoor is off-limits to establishments opening for the sole purpose of offering slots and video poker.
James Bradford, who wished to open Katie’s with his business partner Ken McIntyre, told the board that cafes with video gambling are increasingly popular. Corporations from around the country are opening such establishments in towns where video gambling is allowed.
“They’re just there for the video gaming and so are we,” Bradford said, adding that Katie’s, proposed for 3347 Vollmer Road, would be preferable to other establishments because he and McIntyre are area residents. Bradford has owned a bar in Alsip for 22 years and the partners plan to open a Katie’s café in Oak Forest in February.
Flossmoor gave the go-ahead to video gambling in the village in September following a request by Dean Armstrong, the co-owner of Flossmoor Station, the restaurant and brewery that’s been a major part of the downtown area since 1996. Village officials said there had never been a previous request for video gambling in Flossmoor.
In recent weeks, the village has received liquor license requests from both the Katie’s owners and Marilynn Reis of Oakbrook Terrace, whose planned establishment, The Getaway, would also offer video gambling in Flossmoor Commons.
Under state law, only three types of businesses can apply for video gambling licenses: bars or sit-down restaurants with liquor licenses, fraternal organizations and truck stops. Flossmoor currently has three restaurants with liquor licenses.
Bradford explained that Katie’s, in a 1,600-square-foot space, would have no bar or kitchen and would mostly serve appetizers like shrimp cocktail and hors d’oeuvres. He said the establishment would be open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. and would have one employee on the premises during each of three shifts. There would be five gambling machines, the maximum allowed under state law.
“We want it to have the look of a hotel lobby,” he said, with couches and chairs formed into pit formations.
Village board members reacted quickly to the proposal.
Trustee Perry Hoag said the board, in approving video gaming for a longtime business with an existing liquor license, did not anticipate Flossmoor would welcome new businesses seeking liquor licenses to open establishments where gambling devices would be the main draw.
“You seem like nice people with experience in your field,” Hoag said. “But I can’t support this proposal. I wish you luck in other South Suburban towns.”
Mayor Paul Braun said Flossmoor will continue to keep close control over liquor licenses in the village. When video gambling was approved this year, he said, board members decided that controlling liquor licenses would be the best way to prevent businesses geared toward slots and poker machines from opening.
At that point in Monday’s meeting, most board members had indicated they were opposed to the liquor license for Katie’s. Braun asked board members to vote on the liquor license request so that their action serves as a precedent for other businesses seeking liquor licenses for gambling cafés.
With no further comment, the motion to deny the liquor license passed unanimously.