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Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen coming soon to Crystal Lake

Franchisee pegs former auto lot on Route 14 as ideal site

CRYSTAL LAKE – Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen is coming to Crystal Lake sometime this year.

The Cajun fast-food chain will set up shop on the eastern corner of McHenry Avenue and Route 14, Crystal Lake officials said. The site is the former home of Coventry Motors and has been vacant for a few years, Crystal Lake senior planner Elizabeth Maxwell said.

The operator of other Popeye’s in the region approached the city in November about opening a restaurant in Crystal Lake, and a design team is expected to turn in its final designs for the property in the next few weeks, Maxwell said.

“This is a good location,” she said. “There is really good visibility. They will bring the storefront out to the street, similar to Auto Tech. There is a lot of traffic on Route 14, and the corridor does really well with restaurants and food service.”

Maxwell said it’s great to get the property back up and running.

“With the Virginia Street corridor, we encourage walkability,” Maxwell said. “That’s why we asked [the franchisee] to move the building out toward the street. They will have outdoor patio seating. Having another visible retail space in the city is a plus.”

Sugar Grove-based Gleason Architects and the city worked together to design a drive-thru on the property as well as outdoor seating.

The city was marketing the site as general retail, but also thought it could be a mixed-use development with residential space on the second floor of a new building.

It’s unclear exactly when construction would start. Coventry Motors buildings still stand on the property.

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