If a bar that features sexily-dressed waitresses opens in Morton Grove, is that good for keeping the village's taxes lower or bad for its character as a family-friendly community?
Even before developer Ted Mavrakis, who owns the property on Dempster Street just east of Lincoln Avenue (site of the former Maxwell's Restaurant), has firmed up plans for a proposal to open a Tilted Kilt bar-restaurant, residents are debating the idea.
"I don't believe he's made up his mind yet (on whether to proceed with the Tilted Kilt idea)," said Ted Pirpiris, business manager of Mavrakis' Imagine Properties in Evanston. "We're working on a couple of other deals so it's a lower priority at this point."
Tilted Kilt is a franchised bar-restaurant which features waitresses in low cut red tartan plaid bras, covered by white camp shirts that reach only to the rib cage and leave the midriff bare. They also wear hip-hugger mini-skirts and knee-high socks. The chain has 11 outlets in the Chicagoland area, with the nearest ones in Schaumburg and Vernon Hills.
The chain has experienced controversy, with 19 women employees filing a sexual harassment lawsuit earlier this year at a Chicago location, the Huffington Post said. Evanston rejected Mavrakis' proposal to build a Tilted Kilt there last year, according to CBS Local, with 2,200 people signing a petition against it and Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl saying it did not meet community standards.
The process has yet to begin in Morton Grove.
"We haven't received any sort of applications at this point," noted the village's Director of Economic Development John Said Tuesday. "There has been discussion, but that's as far as it's gone."
A Chicago Tribune article found some residents who live near the parcel don't like the idea of creating a boozy, collegiate-type atmosphere so close to residences.
One Morton Grove resident also e-mailed Patch to express concern about the prospect of scantily clad women running around at the proposed bar-restaurant.
However, another Morton Grove reader expressed the opinion that the restaurant could expand the village's tax base, thus helping to lower residents' property taxes, and at least deserves a fair hearing.
Pirpiris said Mavrakis' company has not yet done any market research and doesn't know how to gauge community reaction at this point.
"He does listen to community reaction," Pirpiris said.