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Resident looks to put Poppin Corks Bistro into Siam Thai space in Flossmoor Commons

A longtime Flossmoor resident is hoping to bring a new restaurant to Flossmoor Commons, possibly filling the space of Siam Thai as its owners are retiring.

Randall Smith pitched his initial plans for Poppin Corks Bistro on Monday, Feb. 20, to the Flossmoor Village Board while requesting a liquor license that would allow for the sale and consumption of alcohol on the premises. The presentation was for discussion only, with no vote by the board regarding the license.

Smith has placed a lease deposit for the roughly 2,700-square-foot Siam Thai space, 3311 Vollmer Road, proposed to begin March 1, according to a board report by Village Manager Bridget Wachtel. Smith submitted a business plan and sample menu to the village board with his liquor license request.

The menu, focusing on American cuisine, is to feature pizza, burgers, salads, pasta and more. Smith added seafood and steak would be on the menu, as well.


“My thought process for Poppin Corks was celebrating life and life’s achievements,” Smith said. “The theme would be to have different beverages with corks — not necessarily alcohol but non-alcoholic beverages, too.”

Smith, a Flossmoor resident for the past 15 years, shared that he has five years of experience in restaurants, including managing Stetsons at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago and Geno’s in Calumet Park.

“I enjoy living in Flossmoor, and I would really enjoy … trying to open up a restaurant in Flossmoor,” Smith said.

Wachtel, as with prior discussion of liquor licenses in the village, noted that granting a liquor license for consumption on premises leaves the door open for video gaming. Once the liquor license is granted, a video gaming license is an administrative process that does not involve further village board approval. But she noted a different license class could be structured in a way that avoids the possibility.

Smith is at least considering video gaming, but he told the board his plan does not hinge on it.

“I would like to keep open all streams of revenue if possible to be able to be successful, but it’s not a necessity,” Smith said.

Several trustees said they do not have a problem with video gaming on premises when the focus of the plan is the bar and restaurant. Trustee George Lofton noted the issue has been raised in previous board conversations but the practice has thus far worked out in the village. Trustee James Mitros added that it is already allowed elsewhere in town.

“I think that without it we’re kind of tying his hands behind his back, and I really don’t think it’s fair if you’re going to operate a bar and a restaurant,” Mitros added. “Everyone else in town has them, so I think you should, too.”

Lofton also inquired about possible hours for the business. Smith noted he thinks the business could be open until 12:30 or 1 a.m. at the latest, but the kitchen would likely close by 11 p.m.

Smith added that he does not intend to make any major structural changes to the space but is working with an architect on the floor plan and signage. He did not have those materials to present to the board yet at the Feb. 20 meeting.

Mitros said he is “all in favor of it,” citing the need for more restaurants in town, but wanted to see plans for the interior layout. Mayor Michelle Nelson and Trustee Rosalind Mustafa similarly asked to see more architectural work before moving forward with the liquor license request. Smith was given instructions on how to proceed, with the hope that he could provide the requested materials in time to have the license request placed on the board’s next agenda.

Smith said once he gets the green light for the project, he thinks it will take roughly 90 days to get the business open.

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