The Daily Northwestern

5th Ward restaurant moves one step closer to approval

1829 Simpson Street

Source: Cook County Assessor's Office

1829 Simpson Street

Ryan Wangman, Summer Managing Editor

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Following the second week of discussion over the fate of a new restaurant on Simpson Street, members of the Design and Project Review Committee voted Wednesday to recommend the business owner’s request to rezone the residential property to the business district.

The restaurant, which has yet to be named and will be located at 1829 Simpson St., plans to feature an outdoor patio, a covered porch, seating and restrooms, according to board documents. The proposal will be reviewed at a joint meeting of the Plan Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals next week, and is supported “100 percent” by Ald. Robin Rue Simmons (5th).

Rue Simmons said Arkady Kats, the would-be restaurant operator, had been very accommodating to community needs and requests throughout the development process. Simmons said she challenged his initial plan for the restaurant to “extend the park experience” from nearby Twiggs Park, and that Kats had increased his budget and redesigned the plan to integrate those ideas.

“The fifth ward is ready for unique and brilliant experiences,” Rue Simmons said. “(Katz has) committed to hiring locally, (and) he has committed to working with the community as much as possible.”

Residents who also attended the meeting noted concern over the potential for a liquor license for the business, and over the way trash was to be disposed. Board members also highlighted that there was a discrepancy in the width of the property, with an older survey saying the width was 152 feet, and a newer one stating the width was 159 feet.

Board chair Johanna Leonard said a clarification on the appropriate width of the property would be needed before the proposal reached City Council.

Leonard said that DAPR could not stipulate any restrictions on a liquor license as part of its recommendation. The stipulations the board did add included the owners deciding on a garbage management plan for the restaurant, clarifying hours of operation and adding fencing.

The DAPR committee also recommended additional proposals for approval to the Zoning Board of Appeals later in the meeting. One of those properties, located on 633 Howard St., is where Evanston restaurateur Pascal Berthoumieux hopes to open Cafe Coralie.

The Simpson Street property will face the Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals on August 30.

“Many people— black, white, from across the bridge, from right in the immediate neighborhood— have said they’re looking forward to eating kabobs,” Rue Simmons said.

Twitter: @ryanwangman