Homewood village board gives nod to variances for retro Grady’s on Harwood

  Jim Garofalo, owner Grady's Snack N' Dine, formerly 
  Grady's Grille, shows Homewood trustees the design 
  of new signage for the business. Trustees expressed 
  support for variances requested by Garofalo at the
  board's March 14 meeting. (Photo by Quincy
  Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 

A popular Homewood restaurant, formerly known as Grady’s Grille, re-opened on Monday, March 20, as Grady’s Snack N’ Dine featuring a '70s and '80s theme. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available.

The restaurant at 18147 Harwood Ave. also will be identified with three new exterior signs complementing the new retro theme.

Business owner Jim Garofalo received assurances from the village board that the signs will be accepted with three variances to the sign ordinance. He came before the board on March 14 to appeal the denial of his oversized and lit signs by the village's Appearance Commission.

Garofalo will have signs on the north and south walls of the restaurant, and a lit monument sign with internal lighting and a space for changeable messages near the front door yet visible to drivers on Harwood.

The commission had made some recommendations on how Garofalo could reduce the square footage on the signs in order to bring the sign package into closer compliance with the total signage permitted by village ordinance.

  New signs painted on the 
  sides of Grady's Snack N' 
  dine, one on the south 
  wall, seen above, and one 
  on the north wall, exceed 
  the square footage allowed 
  by village ordinance. The 
  monument sign in the 
  foreground also requires 
  variances. 

 
The commission also denied the monument sign that required a variance for being internally lit and including a changeable copy/reader board. That type of signage is not permitted in the Central Business District. 

After some discussion, village trustees voted to direct staff to draw up the variance requests. The vote was 5 to 1, with Trustee Karen Washington voting against the motion. 

Village President Richard Hofeld said he was not in favor of the monument sign because "we've had so many accidents on that corner, and (drivers) will only be reading that."  

Garofalo said his request for wanting changeable messages was two-fold. 

“At one of our former restaurants, we had a changeable copy sign where we would advertise our specials and also congratulate people having birthdays, anniversaries, etc.,” Garofalo said.  

“The customers enjoyed it and would often come to have a picture made in front of the sign showing their name in lights. We changed to a digital sign with scrolling information and it did not go over very well because they could no longer take pictures and it was hard to read the specials unless they were stopped in traffic.” 

Garafalo added that the changeable copy was also reflective of the retro concept for the restaurant.

In response to questions about the additional square footage variance, Garofalo said he would have to remove a portion of the new logo identifying Grady’s Snack N’ Dine on the sign planned for the south side of the building.  

Trustee Barbara Dawkins said she hated to infringe on the new logo by requiring a smaller sign. She also stated that she had no problem with the internal lighting for the monument sign.

She noted there are a number of signs with internal lighting in the village and they look nice.

Agreeing with her was Trustee Larry Burnson.
"I'm a firm believer in internally illuminated signs," he said. "I think it's much cleaner. Spotlights can move all over the place."

Burnson added that he was in favor of the request for the variances because there are a number of signs in the Central Business District which are non-conforming for various reasons. 

“I see no problem in granting these variances to Mr. Garofalo,” he said. “His business is a proven positive asset for Homewood, attracting many customers.” 

Hours for Grady’s Snack N’ Dine will be 6:30 a.m to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday;  6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

 

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