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Lake in the Hills mulls new type of liquor license

Some trustees concerned about limited parking at proposed café

LAKE IN THE HILLS – The village is considering a new type of liquor license with a proposed café, which would have five gambling terminals, potentially coming to town.

The proposed café liquor license would allow alcohol to be served during the same hours as restaurants that serve alcohol, but would ensure that at least half of the gross revenue comes from the sale of food and nonalcoholic drinks.

Village trustees are scheduled to vote on whether to create the café liquor license class on Thursday. 

The ordinance would ensure that alcohol does not become the main feature of the establishment. Exterior signs would not be allowed saying that alcohol is sold inside or saying there is video gaming offered in the café.

Laredo Hospitality wants to open one of its Stella’s Place cafés in Lake in the Hills.

The company has applied for a liquor license, but it is up to Village President Paul Mulcahy to decide whether to approve it, Village Administrator Gerald Sagona said. 

The upscale café concept includes bar and lounge areas with highly-stylized decor and a video gambling area in the back. It would cater to patrons age 35 to 75 who enjoy gambling for entertainment. About 60 percent of the guests are expected to be women. The café would serve wine and beer.

Food would be precooked and brought in because there wouldn’t be an on-site kitchen.

Cafés that have the new liquor license would not be able to serve alcohol from midnight to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday, 2 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, and 2 a.m. to noon on Sunday.

The annual fee of the liquor license would be $2,500.

The company wants to open a Stella’s Place in a strip mall at 319 N. Randall Road, in the space formerly occupied by WineStyles. 

Village Board members have concerns about the property where Laredo wants to open its business. 

Some trustees wondered whether there was enough parking spaces for all the businesses in the strip mall.

Trustee Stephen Harlfinger, who participated in the meeting via telephone, said he wasn’t comfortable with the location.

“That place is a zoo,” Harlfinger said. “It is a parking nightmare when that place is rocking.”

Charity Johns, the vice president of operations for Laredo, said there are more than enough spaces, especially on the side of the strip mall. 

She said there would be an ebb and flow of customers similar to that of a Noodles and Company, and there would probably be 10 to 15 people in the café at one time, with a quick turnover of people.

“It’s not a come in and sit down for an hour and half type [place],” Johns said. “It’s sort of a café type of environment.”  

Community Development Director Dan Olson said the strip mall has 72 spaces, which is more than the required 66 parking spaces, per village ordinance. He said the number of parking spaces is required is based on the square footage of the property.

“There’s adequate parking on the lot,” Olson said. 

To attend

What: Lake in the Hills Village Board

When: 7:30 p.m Thursday

Where: Village Hall, 600 Harvest Gate

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