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Flossmoor wine bar proposal gets another round of discussion after petitioner adjusts plan

A Homewood liquor store owner’s proposal to open a wine bar in Flossmoor got more discussion Tuesday, Sept. 7, and petitioner Ronakkumar Patel left with a few more notes.

Patel, owner of Family Wines & Liquors in Homewood, first appeared before the Flossmoor Village Board in July to request a liquor license for a wine and video gaming business in Flossmoor Commons. Board members then requested more information before approving a liquor license and said they had reservations about a gaming-dominated approach.

Patel’s pitch to the board is for a business that would offer wine sales, tastings and snacks but not full food service. He came back to the board Sept. 7 with a two-page written plan as well as two images of a potential layout inside of the proposed 1,200-square-foot facility, featuring a bar up front and an enclosed room for video gaming in the back.

“We asked you to do a number of things, and I think you did them,” Trustee Brian Driscoll said. “I like it a lot more now, and I think I would support this.”

Patel said he hopes to run the business from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. He hopes to have wine tasting events on weekends and sell monthly club memberships. Wine would be available at the bar by the glass, with retail bottle sales.

“I don’t have a problem with that,” Trustee James Mitros said of the combined service and retail approach. “I kind of like the idea.”

Patel noted Indian food would be prepared by a restaurant in Tinley Park and displayed in a hot food counter top warmer. People would also be able to bring their own food, he said.

Patel’s license request was presented only for discussion, and some questions remained about whether Patel’s food setup would meet the requirements of Cook County’s food inspectors. Trustees also had questions and concerns about the completely enclosed gambling room in Patel’s rendering, rather than one with a partial partition or a window to see into the room. Patel also posed questions about serving beer and liquor in addition to the wine, though he and the board appeared to settle on a request for a beer and wine license over the course of the conversation.

“We still have a lot of questions we need answered before doing this,” Mitros said. “I don’t have anything solid I feel like I can sink my teeth into, though I’m not against your proposal.”

Trustee Gary Daggett said he likes the progress on the plan, including the idea of the wine bar being the visual aspect of the business up front with gaming in the back.

“I would really encourage that part of the design stay in place,” Daggett said.

He also vouched for the work Patel has done since taking ownership of Homewood’s Family Wines & Liquors.

“They’ve done a fantastic job of keeping up the neighborhood feel of the place but also making some improvements,” Daggett said. “A little bit of history shows he’s improving what’s there.”

Patel said he is still waiting to secure a unit lease in Flossmoor Commons. Village Attorney Kathleen Field Orr suggested the board wait to approve a liquor license until that happens, as Flossmoor does not want to leave an open liquor license on the table.

Sport court special use permit tabled again
An ordinance to approve a special use permit for a sport court on Heather Road was tabled for a second time after it was noted that pending mediation between the petitioner and neighboring property owners — who have complained about the noise and groups of 6-12 playing on a concrete patio that has been converted to a basketball court — has not yet taken place. Consideration of the ordinance is expected to be on the agenda again for the board’s first meeting in October.

The Plan Commission had voted 4-0 in favor of recommending the permit, but Mayor Michelle Nelson suggested the involved parties seek mediation before board approval in the interest of finding a long-term solution with agreement from both sides.

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