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Fatty’s owner mulls options for neighboring site

DeKALB – Jeff Dobie is still deciding what to do with the former Fiesta Cancun property he bought on 1262 Lincoln Highway.

The owner of Fatty’s Pub and Grille, 1312 W. Lincoln Highway, said he bought the 76,000-square- foot property in June to get extra parking space for his restaurant. The property includes an empty 4,900-square-foot building.

He’s considering making it a parking lot or a banquet facility.

The property is adjacent to Fatty’s and was a Perkins restaurant more than 20 years ago, he said. It’s been half a dozen restaurants since then, including Blackstone Restaurant, which closed in 2011.

When Dobie bought the property, he invested in more than additional parking space for his restaurant. 

“I believe in the future of West Lincoln Highway, and I’d like to see something done on this side of town,” he said. “I always felt this side of town is a kind of corridor when coming into DeKalb.”

Fatty’s current parking lot has 80 to 85 parking spaces and the new property will almost double the number of spaces, he said. This is useful for the restaurant on days when the Northern Illinois University football team has a game or when the university has graduation, he said.

Roger Hopkins, the city’s economic development consultant, said he and city officials try to encourage businesses such as restaurants to expand in the area. The expansion of a place like Fatty’s is evidence of a healthy economy, he said. 

“There’s quite a bit of additional space to continue to host functions like that, especially with the success this fall of the [NIU] football program,” Hopkins said.

In addition to the new property, Fatty’s has teamed up with Whitman’s Catering, 1503 E. Lincoln Highway, to help the restaurant deliver off-site catering to customers. 

Dobie said he’s owned and been running Fatty’s for 15 years. 

“We’ve grown it every year,” he said. “We started as a small operation … and kept building and building on it.”

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