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Pequod's Orders Up Extra Large Expansion Near Metra

The Village Board of Trustees hears a proposal on Monday to demolish existing Pequod's and build a larger one closer to the Metra train station.

, an area institution, announced plans Monday night to build a two-story restaurant five times its current size near the Morton Grove train station inside a city tax increment financing, or TIF district.

The Village of Morton Grove will also buy and demolish the current Pequod's properties at 8520 and 8522 Fernald, under a proposal given its first reading at a board of trustees meeting.

"People have been asking us for more sit-down restaurants and that is what we got," Mayor Dan Staackmann said. "We're very excited about it."

Pequod's owner Keith Jackson plans to build a 6,000 to 7,500 square foot building with 5,000 square feet used for a new, two-level pizzeria and the remaining area divided into two other retail businesses, spokesman Richard Winer said.

A doughnut shop/bakery and a dry cleaner's have made initial inquiries about the other shops, Winer said, but all proposals will be considered. Preliminary architectural drawings call for one of the other shops to face Chestnut Street and the other Lehigh Avenue.

The new Pequod's is expected to open before the existing one closes and is purchased by the city, according to the agreement.

Winer said the new restaurant should open in June of 2012, according to the current timeline.

Under terms of the deal announced by the city, Jackson will pay $346,000 for the city-owned undeveloped property at 6401 Chestnut Street. The Village will pay $455,000 for Pequod's Restaurant and an adjacent property, with plans to raze the pizzeria, create additional parking, and realign an awkward alleyway across from a fire station.

Trustee Dan DiMaria said the new building will be a "focal point," for the 1,000 commuters who use the train station daily. Instead of just getting in their cars and driving away, he said, they can now stop for dinner and drinks.

The expectation is that having a well-known institution like Pequod's will encourage further restaurant and retail development, making Morton Grove's train station more like Glenview, Des Plaines and Edison Park, DiMaria said.

"This is what we've been trying to do for years now," he said.

In 2000, the village created a TIF district at the intersection of Lehigh Avenue and Ferris Avenue, which aimed to create a transit-oriented neighborhood surrounding the Metra train station there. With bonds issued by the city, improvements were made to what was then a blighted neighborhood. The Pequod's development is the first real fruit from that effort.

Also at Monday night's board meeting, trustees approved $87,381 total for the purchase of four new police pursuit vehicles. The existing Crown Victorias, described as high-mileage vehicles more than three years old, will be merged with the city fleet.

Trustees also approved several new "no parking" and "limited time parking" zones on the following streets: Chestnut Street, Major Avenue, School Street, Austin Avenue and Dempster Street.

Second reading and a vote on the Pequod's deal is scheduled for the March 14 trustee meeting.

sherwin dubren March 03, 2011 at 08:54 AM
I have never been in the Dempster Fish Market, but it is described as a Japanese Catering service. Not exactly what I would describe as a fish restaurant like Red Lobster. I don't like raw fish. Good restaurants are doing well in our area. The Glen is hoping and Skokie seems to be doing ok. A good restaurant would attract patrons, even to a small town like Morton Grove. Same with the hardware stores and nurseries. I don't buy many plants in the big box stores nor much hardware because the clerks don't know their merchandise, that is if you can find one. Most serious gardeners avoid these stores. I use Menards on occasion for hardware and got a good deal last year on replacement windows. Although the prices are slightly higher, I prefer stores like Ace Hardware where customer service is a big priority. With all this negativism, we are not going to get anywhere.
Laura Frisch March 03, 2011 at 11:54 AM
The Dempster Fish Market is a great deal when it comes to Sushi, which is not all raw fish, you might want to start with trying a California roll. Nutritionally it is very good for you and promotes a healthy life style...hey if you walk to their store and walk home, you're also helping your heart. And once construction on Dempster is finished we will all get a chance to walk the wider sidewalks together. Their website is fantastic with lots of options for ordering, but being a mostly catering establishment it is best to order ahead of time. They are also a prime spot for grabing lunch on the go. We have sit down sushi restaurants in town as well for those who want a show and service. Now what I'd like to see is an Indian style restaurant...yum...
David Lewis March 04, 2011 at 08:16 PM
Laura, In response to your wanting an Indian-style restaurant in our Village I suggest you try the Pakwaan Indian restaurant located at 7947 Golf Road in the Washington Commons mall in Morton Grove. Telephone number is (847) 965-2422.
sherwin dubren March 04, 2011 at 10:42 PM
Well, I'm glad the spelling police are on the job. It should make all the difference in improving Morton Grove. The Great American Bagel is by no stretch of the imagination even close to a delicatessen. They sell bagels and sandwiches. No lox, corned beef, gefilte fish, chopped herring, smoked fish, etc.
sherwin dubren March 05, 2011 at 12:42 AM
OK teach, will try to be more careful. I asked Patch to incorporate a spell checker a week ago, but so far have seen none. Maybe you should focus on content and not be picky about spelling. Maybe you should also check the spellings on your web page. I don't see it around, or maybe Patch has surplanted it. As a matter of fact, I do go into the Great American Bagel on occasion, but usually order the turkey club sandwich. Common now, does having lox make it a delicatessen? It's a sandwich shop, nothing else.
Karen Berger March 05, 2011 at 04:08 PM
I also think a drive-in movie theater would be a great addition to our community. I just wish the business men would read Patch because we have lots of great ideas. I think those big companies should stop wasting money hiring people with overpriced college degrees. Someone even told me once (so I don't know if it's true) that they'll have groups of people who do nothing more than study what goods and services people buy and where they'll buy them. I would love to see some of our residents move forward with one of their business ideas. It takes risk, but certainly it will be worth it.
Jim Aparo March 05, 2011 at 04:14 PM
All it would take would be several residents with a good idea to form an LLC. Yes, there is risk, and you must also compete with every similar business within a 10 minute drive. I would never recommend using long term saving or using the kids college fund.
Gail Simone March 05, 2011 at 04:17 PM
Karen, please realize that there are some very opinionated people on this board.
Jennifer Alvarado March 05, 2011 at 04:56 PM
Yes!!!! And bring us a bakery so we can have some dessert!
Jennifer Alvarado March 05, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Sherwin, you obviously haven't seen the press that our two local nationally recognized pizza places have earned. Burt's has been featured on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, Featured in Saveur magazine, Chicago's Best TV, Chicago Magazine, among others. Burt was the previous owner of Pequod's and people flock to these places. The day that WGNs Chicago's Best was filmed, there were people who came from Michigan just to try his pie. I personally am a Burt's fan, but was initially a Pequod's fan. Trip Advisor Ranks Pequod's on top of the list of places to visit as well as other travel websites. As David said above, we are home to two of the top 25 pizza places in Chicago, and actually in the top 10! (Burt's #8 and Pequod's #10) I can certainly hope that 'free' press like that brings people from all over to visit our village. (I've posted the links to some examples in case you missed them) http://www.travelchannel.com/travelchannel/TV_Shows/Anthony_Bourdain/Video/Tony_Dives_Into_Deep_Dish_In_Chicago http://www.cltv.com/videobeta/45e91c34-233b-4a22-8e74-0a799e315bf4/Food/Viewer-s-Choice-Pan-Pizza-Burt-s-Place http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/July-2010/Photos-Best-Pizzas-in-Chicago/
Jennifer Alvarado March 05, 2011 at 05:29 PM
Pakwaan is very spicy even when requested mild, although they are good for the spicy lovers, not my family. A friend of mine here in Morton Grove has plans to open a traditional Indian Restaurant in the near future, although nothing is set in stone, he is looking at the Dempster street area, easily accessible by the Edens. I hope his plans come into fruition! I am just absolutely embarrassed by the current aesthetics of Dempster street. I hope that the village's improvement project helps this. Maybe it will attract more leasees and better quality dining experiences all together!
Jennifer Alvarado March 05, 2011 at 05:37 PM
Also in regards to sushi, we go alot as a family to Sushi Kaya in the Austin Dempster Plaza (which that ugly brown and yellow sign does nothing to attact customers) They have many items on the menu and not all is sushi. Give them a try, it is a cute little place that is family friendly. While we are at it... how about a nice Irish Pub since everone is throwing in their opinions here....
Jennifer Alvarado March 05, 2011 at 05:46 PM
Sorry Sherwin, Kaufman's, the Bagel etc. are located in Skokie. Our community is much more diverse than it was say 20 years ago when I was in school at Niles North. I could see a nice New York Style deli do really well, but Kaufman's is really close for the competition to begin fresh. Sherwin, you might like one of these here in MG as would I: http://www.cltv.com/videobeta/5155f6a6-2131-4c56-88b2-d68c6d3c866b/Food/Best-of-the-Southland-Bergstein-s-NY-Deli
Jennifer Alvarado March 05, 2011 at 07:34 PM
Opps, I forgot there is Meiers on Waukegan, but I always look for a good sweet or yummy breads...
sherwin dubren March 05, 2011 at 10:18 PM
I think you are using opinionated in a negative sense. Some of us have strong opinions, but I for one am not against hearing other people's views. For Jennifer, the sandwiches on the video look appetizing, but certainly not a dieter's choice. Anyways, I would not drive all the way South for one, but if I am nearby, I would give it a try. Kaufman's is ok, and I give them a lot of business, but the money is going to Skokie. The ethnic restaurants are well represented here in MG, but I would like to see more tradional American food.
Neal Adams March 06, 2011 at 12:17 AM
From what I've read above, it seems there were white-table cloth restaurants in Morton Grove but the market did not support them. Apparently the consumer market has changed over time. Given the census data, ethnic restaurants should be expected.
John Byrne March 06, 2011 at 12:28 AM
Agreed, demand will be met by the business community. The example of Ace Hardware provides some insight. If the majority of consumers preferred the customer service of Ace Hardware, then there would be no market to support Menards or Home Depot. Obviously, customers in that market want low prices more than individual attention. One person's preference does not create a market or sustainable business model.
Karen Berger March 06, 2011 at 12:34 AM
So, what I want doesn't matter?
Jim Aparo March 06, 2011 at 12:36 AM
It only matters if there are 1,000 more people who like it too. That's consumer demand. If it's only you and your neighbor, the market is not big enough.
sherwin dubren March 06, 2011 at 06:58 AM
The big box stores are not getting all the business. Ace Hardware in Glenview seems to be doing ok. I would not buy certain plants at the big box because they are often mislabeled or not of high quality. I go go Pesches in Mt. Prospect or Lurvies Garden Center. I did buy plants from Franks when they were in Morton Grove. Shopping at the big box stores is a guessing game, as there are many items they don't carry. I only browse around and buy what I think is a good deal. But if I have a household emergency, my best bet is a hardware store. There are still white-cloth restaurants in our area like the Wild Fire in the Glen or Red Lobster in Skokie, just to name a few. I don't think all the restaurants in Morton Grove left for lack of business. Maxwell's on Dempster was always crowded. If you have a reputation for good food and service, people will come from all over. We could use another supermarket. They are all clustered around Golf Mill. Nothing north until you find Jewel at Waukegan and Willow in Glenview. Aside from Dominicks, there is nothing much South, not counting the Asian Market on Waukegan in Niles. A Walmart would be nice as the one in Niles is far away, impossible to park, and jammed with customers. As the price of gas goes up, people will be less likely to travel longer distances to do their shopping and dining.
Dan Goldberg March 06, 2011 at 01:33 PM
Thoughtful talk and think-tanking. Mr. Aparo is on target about demand in geographic areas of population being serviced as stores won't build new ones too close to each other. Franchises like Ace (Glenview and Edgebrook) have agreements that restrict how close their stores can be to each other. These are cold laws of business economics. Smaller, independent stores seeking more local customers, needing less land for buildings and parking, open up more easily and are the backbone of our economy. Better to have 10 new smaller stores equalling the revenue of just one big one. If one left, you still have 9 standing. Mr. Dubren is right, we could use another supermarket in town to offer an alternative to Dominicks and negativism is not going to get us anywhere. The key is working to make new business feel welcome, convincing them this is the place to be. No matter what the business, if they could be assured of enough sales from us they wouldn't leave. While a drive in theater is an interesting idea, it would require more open land that would sit vacant and non-revenue producing for many months, even if people still went to them. There are reasons companies hire professionals to locate stores, it's because they want to make money and better serve their customers. We can share our ideas about what shops we'd like to see in town, but in the end, owners of companies decide where to build them.
Jennifer Alvarado March 06, 2011 at 07:48 PM
Sherwin, I worked at Tenenbaum True Value hardware in Skokie for part of HS and all of my college years, I MISS THAT PLACE! I understand what you are saying about the attentive service and quality that the big box stores don't give. I am grateful for Menard's as they are in Morton Grove, I also shopped at Jamacian Gardens and Franks for flowers and gardening stuff. Here's one, Trader Joes is constantly looking at new locations....maybe if enough people AND our trustees flood their inboxes with requests we can either lure them to the Kappy's corner shopping center or anywhere in our village! I think that would be a perfect fit to our community.http://www.traderjoes.com/ Sorry Sherwin, but you think Red Lobster is a white cloth restaurant? Now a great steak restaurant and an Italian place like a Basta Pasta or a Zia's in Edision Park would marry well here. I want to shop, eat and play in our village. I miss our Abt, Studio, Franks, Morton House, Old Navy,Maxwell's (I think my friend still has her brown polyester uniform), Black Forest restaurant & deli, among others... in this economy it is a daunting task to lure new business here without TIF or any tax incentive.
Jennifer Alvarado March 06, 2011 at 07:48 PM
Skokie is giving improvement tax plans to existing businesses and tax defferment plans to new restaurants and retail establishments in their downtown area and look at that gorgeous police station near Touhy.We are their neighbors and there is a great difference when you cross the border and it is disenchanting. (I agree also, there needs to be a spell check here on Patch :) )
sherwin dubren March 06, 2011 at 08:38 PM
Jennifer, Are you aware that Aldi's owns Trader Joes? There is an empty store right next to the Aldi's on Golf in Morton Grove. Maybe we can convince them to open a Trader Joes there. One possible problem is the store is limited in space, but I think it would still work there. I don't think we should try and emulate our neighboring villages with fancy municipal buildings because frankly, we can't afford them. The movie house in Golf Mill seems to be hoping. Maybe a closed theater would be more practical. I think the company professionals need a bit of proding. Look at the persistant real estate agent that convinced District 67 School Board to consider a sale. They sent them three emails. The first two were trashed, but the last one struck home. That of course would have been a bad sale, taking away a perfectly good park and adding another ugly car dealership to Waukegan Road. We need more specialty stores. I just bought some bird seed at Birds Unlimited in Glenview. That owner gave me information I could never get at a big box store. I think people are slowly realizing that the big box stores are limited to lower cost advantages, and that they can get better service. in some cases. from a smaller store.
Jennifer Alvarado March 08, 2011 at 03:17 PM
They won't open next to each other, Trader Joes and Aldi, they are still competing businesses. The co-founder of Aldi and co-owner of Trader Joes passed away over the summer so now Trader Joes is owned by Aldi in trust. Anyhoo, I feel that the former Old Navy strip mall would be ideal for a Trader Joes, How do we get our village people to solicit them? The one I shop at on Waukegan in Glenview is always hoping, and near any holiday, just packed solid! That store would serve both Niles and Morton grove residents at the Harlem and Dempster strip mall. When Culver's finally gets built (thinking optimistically), that would be one thriving location bringing in $$$. We don't really need another movie theater, with all the big ones around town. I loved our Morton Grove one, I would sometimes just go for the popcorn, but I personally don't think it is what we need right now. With an AMC theater on Touhy&Central, Old Orchard and Golf Mill we are surrounded in big theaters, I don't see another one moving in to that close to competition. I wish we could bring a 'downtown' feel to Morton Grove, like Skokie or Park Ridge, it brings the community together. Cafes with alfresco dining in the summertime, an ice cream or frozen yogurt parlor to hang out at after ball games or soccer practice on Dempster would be ideal... Dairy Queen is usually pretty full on summer nights and they are in Niles. (I would invest in an ice cream shop) Just more to think about... or daydream about... :)
lisa March 09, 2011 at 10:00 PM
I think Trader Joe's would be a wonderful store. However, I thought Produce world was moving into the Old Navy strip mall. I think that would harm both businesses. How about putting it in the nearly empty strip mall by the tracks on Dempster. It would be convenient for the town house residents and the folks driving home from the train station.
Jennifer Alvarado March 11, 2011 at 08:41 PM
Lisa, you are correct, I wasn't thinking. Trader Joes would be a fine addition to our town. Both Park Ridge and Glenview locations are always hopping. I just hope we can fill up some of the vacancies in Dempster and brighten up our town. Bring the life back into it!
Jennifer Alvarado March 11, 2011 at 08:42 PM
(oops, I meant ON Dempster)
s dolan May 24, 2011 at 06:02 PM
I wish Morton Grove would spend more dollars on beautification projects...More flowers,better town Xmas decor,not light up candy cane signs on light poles,how about nice fresh pine garland,like Skokie and Glenview uses? Nice large pots of flowers on street corners? Make it look classy not cheap... Nice lamp posts,benches,garden scapes and so on. Our town could look more inviting and classy,not drab and lifeless...After all we pay high taxes here-
David Lewis May 24, 2011 at 06:17 PM
I assume you are referring to Dempster Street? If so, when was the last time you traveled on Dempster? The new street lamps have been installed and most of the new sidewalks are finished. Next will be the repaving of the entire street from Ferris to Central. Finally, new benches and tree planters will be installed. All of this work is scheduled to be completed in July of this year. It would be helpful if residents would read the newsletter that is delivered by U.S. Mail to their homes, attend Village Hall meetings or watch the meetings on TV, view the Village's web site, or attend public meetings such as the meeting that was held at the Civic Center last week. All contain updates or discussions on the progress of Dempster Street.

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