Homewood liquor store owner makes initial pitch to open Flossmoor wine bar business

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Homewood liquor store owner makes initial pitch to open Flossmoor wine bar business

July 22, 2021 - 23:59
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Ronakkumar Patel, owner of Family Wines & Liquors in Homewood, appeared before the Flossmoor Board of Trustees to initiate a request for a liquor license that would allow him to operate a wine bar and video gaming operation in the Flossmoor Commons shopping area.

Trustees asked Patel to provide more information about his business plans and expressed reservations about a gaming-dominated approach.

Trustee Jim Mitros asked Patel to submit a complete business plan so the board would have a better idea what the business would bring to the village.

"I would prefer to have something formal," he said, noting that he would not support a liquor license based on a request letter alone. "I'm not against it. I think you have some work to do." 

Trustee Perry Hoag noted the village has a history of opposing gaming-dominant businesses and has turned down a number of proposals. 

"We've given licenses to restaurants," he said. "We don't want a mini-casino with popcorn."

Patel said he doesn't want to compete directly with local restaurants. The establishment he envisions would include wine sales and wine tasting events along with snack foods, possibly including prepared Indian foods, but would not include a restaurant. 

Trustee Brian Driscoll indicated that times have changed and he might be open to a different approach than in the past. 

"If you came to us with this proposal two years ago, we would just say no," he said. "Now, there might be a niche. We should keep our eyes open if we can work with you and bridge some of these gaps. We want the space to be adding something in addition to gambling."

Driscoll complimented Patel on his work with Family Wines & Liquors: "You've done a great job taking over Butch's place which was a Homewood staple for many years."

Patel purchased Family Wines & Liquors late in 2018 from Butch and Tony Girolami. Butch Girolami operated the store for more than four decades.

Patel said he would work with village staff to submit a more detailed plan that answers the board's concerns.

In other business, the board approved adding a class A liquor license at the request of Tabitha Hopkins and Iyare Egonmwan, who plan to open a soul food restaurant, Not Just Sundays, in the Flossmoor Commons shopping area.

Hopkins and Egonmwan presented their plans to the board at its July 6 meeting.

Assistant Village Manager Allison Matson reported the village received one email comment from a resident who inquired whether there would be another rain barrel giveaway, as was done in the past. Matson said she would advise the resident about the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District rain barrel program, which provides them at low cost and will deliver to homes.

The MWRD website notes that the program is currently on hold while the organization lines up a new vendor but that prices may be lower when it resumes.

Upcoming village events include Coffee with a Cop from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 24, in front of the Bistro on Sterling, 1040 Sterling Ave., and National Night Out from 5 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 3. National Night Out, a nationwide event designed to connect law enforcement officers with members of their communities, will be held in the village hall and Infant Jesus of Prague Church parking lots. 

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