DeKALB – A local business owner who first approached DeKalb city officials in 2018 got the thumbs-up again for a proposed drive-thru package liquor license and another video gaming liquor license for a combination liquor store and video gaming bar.
The DeKalb City Council voted, 6-0, to approve resolutions showing support for the licenses originally requested by Jeff Dobie of Haymaker Enterprises Inc. – which operates Fatty’s Pub and Grille, 1312 W. Lincoln Highway – during their Monday meeting at DeKalb Public Library. Ward 6 Alderman Mike Verbic and Ward 7 Alderman Anthony Faivre were absent from the meeting.
DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas said the proposal probably looked familiar for those who served on the council in 2018, after aldermen originally approved the drive-thru package liquor store license and video gaming license two years ago for the proposed commercial building location – which would have a separated package store and video gaming bar but both still in the same building – across the street from Fatty’s on Lincoln Highway.
“For a number of reasons, this didn’t come to pass – construction didn’t come to pass – and then, about a year ago, an extension was given,” Nicklas said. “We’re up and … past that extension now.”
The proposed facility hasn’t been permitted or constructed yet, according to city documents.
Dobie said the reason for the project’s delay was due to bids for the project coming in really high and the wave of tax increment financing project approvals going through City Hall after the 2018 license approvals. He said a lot of the crews that would have helped with his proposed commercial building were tied up with those TIF projects.
“So I was not in a major hurry to do the project,” Dobie said.
Dobie said he was hoping to finally break ground for the project last spring, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. He’s still hoping to get the ball rolling again sooner rather than later and, because the city already issued support for the project before, decided to pursue it once more.
“So when and if we break ground, we don’t have to go get it again,” Dobie said.
Nicklas said the approval of the resolutions is pending Dobie’s continued compliance with related state regulations.
There was no additional discussion among City Council members before the votes.
City officials also wrote in city meeting documents that Haymaker Enterprises met with police and community development officials in 2018 and presented thorough security plans for the site, including the use of bullet-resistant glass, a panic alarm and multiple security
cameras to enhance site security.
Dobie said that, to the best of his knowledge, this proposed building would still contain the first drive-thru packaged liquor store within the city, should it be approved.
Dobie also is among several named parties and restaurants who filed a lawsuit against Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Health, alleging “unfair” regional mitigations because of COVID-19 resurgences.
In the meantime, Dobie said, he is just trying to navigate the most uncertain times he has had as a business owner to date.
“I’m just trying to get through this year and, hopefully, everything starts rebounding next year and we can start moving forward.”