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Wed, Jan 23, 2013
7:00 p.m.

Added Jan 15 2013

I am hosting a community meeting to discuss and review a proposal to construct a Burger King drive-thru restaurant at 7513 N. Clark (in the Gateway Shopping Center). The meeting will take place on Wednesday, January 23rd, 7:00 p.m., at the Pottawattomie Park Fieldhouse, 7340 N Rogers (west of Clark).

Representatives of Burger King, including the franchisee, Adam Velarde, who owns 28 Burger King restaurants throughout the Chicagoland area, will present a proposal to build a Burger King restaurant with a drive thru.

The construction of the Burger King would take place on the vacant "out-lot" that exists along Clark Street in the Gateway Center, just north of the building that houses the Dominick's (see photo below, courtesy of DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard). When the shopping center was constructed fourteen years ago, the out-lot was intended to be developed at a later date with a compatible commercial use.

For more information, including a look at the site plans, elevations and renderings, visit:

  • tom 2422 Rogers Parker since 1972

    It would be good to know the locations of the 28 burger kings this guy already owns. My experience is that BK, more so than MCD's, tend to fall in to disrepair rather quickly.

    What's his track record?

  • Some quality snacks at this meeting may go a long way to changing my mind. A taste of what they're proposing. with fries of course.

  • Let's not forget the ancillay issues: increased traffic in the parking lot, trash thrown on the sidewalks as people walk away and ifnish their food. Personally, I'd rather see something less generic, something that doesn't tag us as just another struggling neighborhood full of people who eat cheap crap, but that's just me.

  • Hey, if we're going to go for a food outlet, what about talking to Einstein Bagels or even Dunkin' Donuts? I'm torn about this -- I want to support business endeavors in the RP, and I know we have to put in what will be supported by consumers, and let's face it, when you put in fast food, people eat it (I don't eat fast food, but I did work at a BK in college - it was well run and clean, so I'm not knocking the franchise). I'd just like somethign less predictable, even if marginally.

  • RPC- No one else is lining up for this plot. BK is it unless you can get someone else interested and they can pony up the requisite $$. Theres a thread or 2 already full of wishful thinking.

  • Great. More terrible unhealthy food

  • tom 2422 Rogers Parker since 1972

    Mr. Rogers, personally I can wait for a better choice than a BK. I would thin the RPBA can approach better franhchises other than a BK. Once it is there we have to live with it for a long, long time. Better to wait for something a little less tacky.

  • Agreed. The kinds of business you see when going through a neighborhood make a huge impression, and Howard Street has enough stigma without a BK on its doorstep. And once it's in, it's in. The RPBA is a good idea, Tom 2 (If I may be so casual).

  • tom, I don't disagree at all. Seems though like that ship has sailed. Quietly, in the night.
    But, lets see what they have to say.

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    @tom 2422,

    In response to your first comment, I will ask the proposed franchisee to provide the addresses of his 28 stores. Most are in the suburbs, but he has a few in the City. The corporate folks from Burger King told me the reason they picked this gentleman as the franchisee was because they are very happy with the way he runs his other stores.

  • Leelee Dog lady, cat lady, juicer extraordinaire

    Meh, a business is a business and brings in work and sales tax money. I don't want to get tattoos, but I wouldn't start protesting a tattoo parlour.

  • Leelee - I wouldn't say a business is a business, and reducing this to money and taxes is too simplistic -- we have to care about what go s in here. I've never seen fast-food restaurants fostering community or creating a neighborhood feel the way a coffee shop or traditional restaurant does. If a business were going to open up by my house, I'd certainly have a preference for what goes in there.

  • Alderman Moore, is this business going to benefit from TIFF dollars?

  • I like the idea of a new business in our neighborhood, but I wish it could go somewhere else. The fact is, there are parts of Clark and Howard and other well-travelled streets in RP that have abandoned store fronts, run down buildings, and are really a bit of an eye sore. Why not use one of those lots for a new business? I'm sure that wouldn't be the most cost-effective choice for BK, but in terms of neighborhood development, and getting the community to back you, I think it's a better idea.
    The Dominick's plaza is for the most part, aesthetically pleasing and well kept. I don't think we should hide it behind a Burger King. Just a thought..

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    @RP Chick,

    No TIF dollars are involved. In fact, the Howard Paulina TIF expired effective December 31st.

  • RP Advocate Servo solvo sermo.

    Never apologize for Tax Increment Financing. When used appropriately it helps improve our community. Some people seem to think of it as "bad money" apparently based on their "ideology" or by using it as a political campaign tool. TIF has served the 49th Ward well.

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    @RP Advocate,

    I couldn't agree more. Without Tax Increment Financing, the Gateway Center would never have been built and our neighborhood would have been without the hundreds of jobs and retail amenities it provides. Yes, TIFs have been abused from time-to-time in other parts of the City, but judicious use of TIF can do much to revitalize a neighborhood.

  • tom 2422 Rogers Parker since 1972

    Thanks, Joe... Would love to see the list. Also good to see that BK corporate actually thinks about these things (quality owners).

  • RP Advocate - I'm not opposed to TIF as a model. TIF is fine in theory, but I don't think Burger King needs it, nor would I appreciate a tax break going to a franchise that has a megacorporation's resources behind it, and which would likely locate here even without it. I'd like to see TIF money used as it has been in the 49th, to foster local businesses that enrich the community.

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    It's in their interest to think about securing quality owners. Look at what happened when they had a franchisee who wasn't so good, e.g. Howard and Claremont.

  • Having been through this process before in Massachusetts in a similar neighborhood (only for us it was bringing in business for a new development). I'm aware of the need for the plaza owners to get in a fairly solid business, and let's face it, BK will do well there. I understand they need someone with a good balance sheet and track record, so I'm not insensitive to the business aspect of all of this. It would just be nice if it were something other than fast food.

  • Wish they would have a late night "walk-up" window, if they're policy is anything like McDonald's, they won't allow pedestrians or cyclists to use the drive through when the dining room is closed.

    Plus, this looks better than the post-bending-the-pedestrian-streets-requirement McDonald's located in Logan Square especially with immediate entrance to the building from the sidewalk and not having to maneuver around just to get in.

  • DaveP been around

    According to the ward49 website info...

    "The restaurant and drive through will be open every day from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight."

    So, sounds like the drive through will not be open extended hours. Which is too bad, cause I was hoping for at least 2am or 4am

  • They can't let pedestrians or cyclists use the drive-through for liability reasons, not because they're trying to be difficult.

  • Tanya

    I agree with RP Chick and Kelly. It's certainly not the addition of a business, but rather the type of business that I object to. As one of the Gateway Centre's residential neighbors, the hours of operation for the proposed BK are even more of a concern.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    RP does not support small business. If we did, there would be less vacant storefronts. Look at Logan Square. Huge neighborhood support = constant growth and expansion. Unfortunately our part of town is wrought with nay sayers. Those who oppose a BK simply because its not their ideal. There obviously aren't any Econ majors here besides myself. A business like this investing in a part of town is ALWAYS a good thing. More people, more tax dollars, more employment, a proven business model. This all equates to a lower crime rate, fewer vacant storefronts, and more police presence. The hours of operation are of great concern?!? How late is Dominick's open? Does the train stop running at some point? Do any of you know a business that wants to open a restaurant specializing in local produce or healthy cooking practices? Why aren't they coming to RP? Is it because there is a list of a dozen neighborhoods that are more accepting of business' and are willing to support them? Thought so...

  • Mr. Rogers: "No one else is lining up for this plot."

    So? What's the emergency? We have to settle for junkfood because a little patch of grass in a mall is such an eyesore? I have to wonder how the decreased visibility for the rest of the mall will affect the current businesses there. Seems to me we can wait for something more attractive and interesting. I'm all for new businesses in the neighborhood, but some are more beneficial than others, and yet more corporate junkfood ranks at the bottom of that barrel.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...


    Settling implies that there are other offers on the table. If you were to go to the proposed spot, you would notice that BK will not block the view of any of the storefronts. They are all too far back to be noticed. You are most certainly not "all for it". You said as much in your response. If anything, you are only for it of it is something you personally agree with. When will you guys realize that this is not a booming economy. Any business is a benefit to the hood, not just the ones that satisfy your ideals.

  • Donny, I think RP does support small business, but you can't compare RP with Logan Square (for what it's worth, Logan Square doesn't impress me all that much. If I wanted to live in a trash-stewn Hipster Spawning ground, I'd move, but I like the RP). The conditions here are totally different: our location is more removed, and the demographics aren't the same. If a company chooses to open elsewhere, it can't all be attributed to lack of local support. Look at the 400, look at the Mayne Stage, look at the small privately-owned shops and markets -- heck, look at Morse Ave -- it's doing really well and has improved remarkably. Closed storefronts on Howard say more about that street than about RP's commitment to business, but I have faith that it's just a matter of time before Howard turns that corner. This is partially economics, but also urban planning -- you need a tipping point of good business (not nail shops and dollar stores), and you have to be able to assure entrepreneurs that their entire life's savings can be well invested in a neighborhood.

  • Davey: I'm stating the facts as posted in the previous threads on this topic which covered similar concerns as well as numerous suggestions of what might better occupy this space. I don't have stake in this. It would be good to bring your concerns and suggestions to the meeting.

  • For what it's worth, I contacted Einstein Bagels Corporate. I got a sort of formalized response and was told my suggestion would be forwarded to ther real-estate department for review. I'm not holding my breath, but nothing ventured...

    Donny, this is the first I'd heard that a business was supposed to go into that spot. I'd like to know what kind of search has been done for a business partner. As for "ideals," BK might seem like a great development for people who eat their food, but there are those of us who want more for our neighborhood than another classless fast-food place. And as was pointed out, it's not like we HAVE to have a BK there just because there are no other optiosn at the moment. Has anyone consideed the impact of a BK on local restaurants along Howard?

  • Donny, I'm for what I think will benefit the hood, which includes making the place more attractive and different. By your standard, another payday loan store or used tire store or drunk bar in that location would be just as beneficial to the hood as, say, a good local Jamaican or Chinese or Mexican joint, or a local bakery, etc. To me that's just nonsense.

    Here's a question for you: Do you think a BK right there will do more good or harm to the image/attractiveness of the African restaurant and the sports bar that will be its neighbors? Why do you think commercial rents are so high on places like N Mich? At least part of it is that they don't have BKs and KFCs next door -- which helps sustain their claim to being "classy". I have no problem with a BK coming to RP -- but this is the wrong site for it.

    PS: I don't know who "you guys" is supposed to be, but I'm painfully aware of what kind of economy we're in, and that yet another BK is not going to change that in the slightest.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    Hipsters they may be, but they actually go out and support their businesses. I would argue that our streets are every bit as trash strewn as theirs. And I whole heartedly disagree that we support small business in here in RP. I love 400 and Mayne. But both struggle with clientele. I am elated that Morse has been doing better. But this doesn't negate the fact that people are against a business moving into a vacant space simply because they would like to wait for something better. No one knows what this is and it doesn't seem as though any interest in this space has been generated beyond BK. this does not instill a sense of a burgeoning community and economy to developers and or small business owners. Until we as a community embrace any and all businesses, we will stay in the dark. If RP didn't support the BK it would close. Simple as that. And then there would be a vacant building that a small business owner could rent or buy at a reduced rate. They don't have the money to build a new front. So why oppose those who do? There aren't many who can build a building in this economic climate.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    As an aside, using terms like "hipster spawning ground" is every bit as prejudice as saying "ghetto spawning grounds". They are people just like you and I. Must we group them together like that?

  • Except it's not really a vacant spot in the sense that it's an eyesore or a testament to economic failure: it's a piece of lawn in an active shopping center. As I said, I had no idea this was slated for business, and I'm pretty sure other people didn't either. My point is that perhaps if word went out about the search for business, we may have more than one option from which to choose. I'd like to support business in RP, but seriously, there is no way I'd eat at a place like this, and I have a lot of friends who wouldn't, either. I'd rather head next door for some good Ethiopian. Also, a BK is not going to entice people to RP for something they can get anywhere else. Will it be the end of the world if a BK opens there? I dont think so. But why can't we learn whether there are any options? Do you think the tone of Logan Square would be helped by adding more fast-food places? Do people go there for McDonald's or BK or do they go for Lula? And for what it's worth, I'd eat out more in RP if more resterateurs stopped serving the same unimaginative food with a sad veggie burger or pasta as their only veggie options. I guess I can get credit for eating on Devon a lot....

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    Dave, there aren't any local restaurants with the funds to build a front there. That is my point. I agree that another payday loan store is not ideal, but it's commerce. It is jobs. It is tax revenue. These are things we will lose if we oppose a business because we want to wait on something better. When will these better options arise? A BK shouldn't kill any business on Howard that provides a good service. If we do in fact support local business, how could that be an issue? And as for the aesthetics of the the strip north of there, I don't see how a BK will destroy what is already a mundane structure. Also, there is McDonalds, and several other fast food establishments on N Michigan...

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    RPC, totally agreed. BK is not my cup of tea. I too wish that more imaginative restaurants would come to RP. But the market isn't here. The average person in our neighborhood is a BK customer. They will succeed. For the most part, all patches of grass or unused parts of large facilities such as that are open to development. All major competitors already know this. They only express interest if they think their business will succeed there. Logan square does not need another BK, because they already have such a splendid assortment of food options. We don't. And there aren't any on the horizon. What we do have is a business that would bring revenue and jobs to the hood. And as our community because more well employed our demographic will change and be able to support the kinds of things you are talking about. The "hipsters" go to small boutique shops, so did the yuppies that changed Lincoln Park. The first businesses to move into those neighborhoods were mcdonalds and BK. it's just a start...

  • DaveP been around

    Did people flock to rogers park to go to pillars? Was the community support so great for pillars, and their tasty eco friendly food? Sounds like that is the exact sort of business you all want, yet it failed.

    Just because you have the means and would rather go spend $15 on a nice Ethiopian meal doesn't mean everyone does. I'd rather go spend $3 for a few burgers at BK myself. And I'd like a shake also. All for $5.

    p.s. I thought the drawing of the building they want to put in looked nice. At least as nice as that awesome 4 story parking garage you all can't wait to be built.

  • Dave, you may be right: maybe places like Pillars will fail in RP because more people like crap than good food. "Eco-friendly" food -- what is that, your label for anything that's not greasy and served between bread and with fries? Did you ever go to Pillars? I did, and I liked them.

    And now we "all" want the parking garage. Ok, whatever you say. It's you against the world, Dave, and nobody who disagrees with you has a valid argument. You enjoy your fast food, and I'll enjoy having good health and a decent waistline.

  • This space was always intended for a franchise, suburban type chain outlet. These malls are built for that, not the sole proprietor. No single restaurant operation has the resources required to build out a space. The Gateway complex was designed to accommodate automobile traffic. While it may be preferable to have some other type of franchise there-Panera, Einstein, etc- they have to be interested first. This deal has been in the works in one form or another for a while.

    I think it would be good to attend the meeting and find out a bit how these decisions get made, who the players are and how best to become aware before the deals are done. Write off the Gateway mall and focus on the more desperate and viable storefronts and empty retail locations. Like godmn 7308 Rogers!

  • daveP, did people flock to go to the now-dead BK on Howard? If not, by your standard BK is no good for the neighborhood -- it not only failed but left another polluted junkyard behind. You're all hot to give them another shot anyway, but the possible failure of Pillars apparently means we should totally give up on local restaurants. Is that your argument? One strike and you're out unless you're corporate and boring?

    Most startup businesses fail. Pillars may be one. But you're saying they're some kind of proof that local business is not worth bothering with, so we should just fuggedaboudit and settle for yet another corporate clone.

    This isn't about your tastes or mine or anybody else's. Personally I'd rather get a nice local plate of tacos or orange chicken for that $5. But that has nothing to do with the argument. It seems to really be about a longer-term view of the neighborhood's health and future vs a few jobs and virtually no economic benefit to RP.

  • Tanya

    Donny, yes, I am concerned about the hours, although that's definitely not my only concern. I think it would be difficult to find any homeowner that wanted a BK with a drive-thru built next door, regardless of the hours. I definitely won't patronize it.

    It's good that we're having this discussion now, although I think Mr. Rogers is right - it would have been nice to have foreknowledge of the deal. I'll be at the meeting; hope to meet some of you there.

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    Hi folks, just to clarify, you all have had foreknowledge of the deal. In fact, you've been talking about it on EveryBlock for the last month. Nothing is set in stone and I have given Burger King and the franchisee no assurances that they will have my support. I am keeping an open mind, and the community meeting will be an important factor in helping me decide whether to support the proposal, oppose the proposal or support it with certain conditions.

    I have met with Burger King representatives on several occasions. The 49th Ward Zoning Advisory Committee, the neighborhood group that advises me on all zoning and land use issues in the ward, has met with them, as well. At my urging, Burger King changed the brick facade to more closely match the brick facade of the surrounding structures in the shopping center. The franchisee also provided me with a commitment that he would hire from the neighborhood and use local community organization referrals to do so.

    After those concessions were agreed to, the Advisory Committee and I believed the proposal was ready for community review, which is the process we are in now.

    (To be continued)

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    (continued from my previous comment)

    Finally, as I stated in my notice to the community, this plot of vacant land is part of the Gateway Shopping Center and was always intended for commercial use. However, despite aggressive marketing efforts on the part of the shopping center managers and owners, only two viable proposals have been proffered over the 14 years the shopping center has existed--this Burger King proposal and a drive-thru restaurant proposal presented by Panda Express some eight years ago.

    The Panda Express drive-thru was so poorly conceived that the City of Chicago Planning Department and I rejected it out of hand. It also was apparent that Dominick's, whose approval was required, was not supportive of the Panda Express proposal.

    That's it. Two proposals over 14 years, including years in which the commercial real estate market experienced unprecedented growth and expansion. I point this out, not because I've already made up my mind about the project. I haven't. But because people should know the choice is not between the Burger King and some other commercial alternative. The choice is between the Burger King (or some variation of the Burger King proposal) and a vacant lot. Perhaps some other commercial tenant may present a proposal in the near future, but they haven't step forward yet despite aggressive marketing efforts.

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    I guess I posted my comments too fast for the EveryBlock people to handle. Obviously, my last two comments should be read in reverse order.

  • Tanya

    Thank you, Joe. I'm only speaking for myself, but I was referring to having knowledge - prior to receiving the notice in the mail last month - of the area being available for development. I didn't realize it was an empty lot. I probably would not have purchased my condo knowing that there could be a fast food drive-thru being built there.

  • I met Adam Velarde by pure chance some months ago when I worked in Lincoln Park. My older co-workers knew him by name, but being the new guy he didn't know me. He had no problem introducing himself and his son to me. He was a great guy, really kind and humble. I don't know how hands-on the guy is for managing his franchises, but he does genuinely care for people (we talked at length, just a guy feeling.)

    Secondly, I think it would provide some kids around here their first job and at least get them working. How long would it take to get something else in that spot? Would it provide entry-level work for the youngsters around here? Hell, Burger King was my first job growing up.

    I think everyone here in Rogers Park would prefer something else, but how long would we be willing to wait?

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    Tanya, you have expressed concern twice now. Would you care to elaborate on what your concerns are with regard to their operating hours?

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    Also, as I said earlier, and joe reiterated, by in large, all vacant areas of a shopping center are built with the intention of developing any and all areas not integral to the parking of the businesses within. You should have known that when you purchased your condo.

  • EddiePedroza photographer

    Why don't we save these comments for the actuall meeting on the 23

  • We are talking about there being no viable restaurant options, and there are TWO restaurants RIGHT NEXT DOOR to this proposed BK, and they are totally affordable. not to mention the other eateries on Howard. If your idea of supporting local business is spending no more than three dollars at a BK rather than ten at a place owned by your neighbor, then I guess we have different ideas about supporting community. BK is not a restaurant - it's a substitute for people who don't cook.

    Donny: Really? She should have known that the small patch of grass would one day be a drive-through? Tanya: you make perfect sense. having cars lined up and listening to the outside order speakers, not to mention the noise from the kids that will use it as their second home will be obnoxious.

  • Ha Eddie, we should get it out now to avoid the bloodbath!

  • Shelena Marie Beach goer

    A Native Foods would be cool. Especially if they had a drive thru. That would probably make everyone happy in RP, well vegans mostly. Maybe someone could entice them to open a business in this hood? I think there is a pretty big market here for that type of business no?

  • EddiePedroza photographer

    I 2nd Native Foods or Chicago Diner. I'm a vegan so I won't be going to Crappy BK anyway

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    Forgive me, but I'm a little perplexed with the concerns expressed by Tanya.

    She lives on the southeast corner of Howard and Clark, a bustling intersection at which cars, trucks and buses traverse at all hours of the day and night. She also lives a half a block west of the Howard "L" station, the second busiest transit hub in the City of Chicago, complete with its frequent announcements of "doors closing" made over a loud speaker system. She lives across the street from a rail yard where the unrelenting screeching of metal wheels rubbing against metal tracks can be heard. Finally, she lives above a hamburger joint where patrons dine in the warm weather in an outdoor patio surrounded by amplified recorded rock music.

    I would be very surprised if the sound of "would you like fries with that?" could be heard above the din of her very urban neighborhood where she willingly chose to purchase her home.

  • Chet 606 Rogers Park, NOHavana, CE

    Is grass such a bad thing? Given that 2012 was the hottest year on record, should't we be trying to keep as much grass and native plantings in place. Most of the center is paved. A grassy area absorbs rain water and helps mitigate the heat island effect.

    If there was overwhelming desire for a business of some sort, that's one thing. But to build on land just because it is not developed or vacant? Poor argument.

  • Alissa C Professional Organizer, Cat Lady, Fab Baker

    I'm a little perplexed why our alderman would react with such snarky commentary towards his constituents.

    There's valid concerns about a drive-thru business on that patch of land, other than "Would you like fries with that?".

    How about:
    * Increased traffic being a danger to pedestrians and cyclists? A drive-thru business would aim to -increase- traffic, and thus increase danger.
    * Garbage. Food establishments that have carry-out do tend to have increased amount of garbage near their establishments.
    * Smell. I'll admit, I could down a Whopper w/ cheese (or two) when I'm PMSing, & craving all matters of food I wouldn't even look at other times of the month. (Yeah, TMI, live with it.) I have yet to meet a Burger King that I couldn't smell two blocks before I could see it. I can't imagine living almost right above it. Actually I could. And I would never open my windows again.
    * Let's set aside the "Would you like fries with that?" point aside. There are other noise concerns. As a formerly young ignorant car owner/driver, I'm embarrassed to admit how many times I went through a drive-thru establishment with my crappy top 40 music cranked too high, w/ the bass on booming, for every second I wasn't pulled up to the speaker placing my fast food order. It's the nature of late night drive-thru food.
    * If they're only planning on being open until midnight for now, would they push to stay open until 2 am or later at some other date?
    * You're right, the people who live above the area, did buy property in an urban area. An urban area that didn't contain a drive-thru with it's far-reaching scent of fast-food scents, and booming car bass for 6 plus minutes straight while the car occupants wait for fresh fries to be fried.
    * If it's a choice of BK or nothing, I see nothing wrong with nothing (Yeah, I'm a hippie). The argument of "nobody else wants to move in there" doesn't hold a lot of sway with me, I like to see grass on occasion.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    I really don't feel like Joe's comment was snarky. It was literal. That really is one of the busiest intersections in our neighborhood. And all manner of transportation and commerce are done there. One should expect the noise and traffic in that environment.

    And to the self proclaimed hippies:
    Small or large, businesses go to the money. Demand requires supply. If the demand for these options you find "classier", healthier, or otherwise was here, some one would supply it. There isn't though, at least not a large enough one. There is however the chance for our neighborhood to welcome some much needed jobs to the people who live here. And some options for those who can't afford the price of unique eats. They are here, you know. Those on fixed incomes, who are hard on their luck. You don't see them shelling out $10 for an umami burger at BopNgrill.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    Chester, there is an overwhelming need for jobs. That's what businesses represent. When we chose nothing over something, we pay those unemployed folks through our taxes. The taxes that lost the revenue that BK would bring in. All of the taxes on the food that they sell, and on their property, and for their signage, and on their employees wages....seriously, they never stop taxing us!! There are a million ways this business helps the economy of our hood, our city, and the country. We need folks to work and use that money to buy stuff. That's the way they set it up. If we all became artisans then the hippie mentality would rule the land. Sadly, I'll never be a cobbler and we will have to carry on with what's in front of us.

  • Helen NoH North of Howard for 55 + years

    Donny, would you care to tell us what your abiding interest in this project is? You certainly are pushing it, although I note you just joined this site on Tuesday and have commented on no other thread. The rest of us have been around for months and in some cases more than a year. And it's not as though this is the first thread on the topic. I had my say in a previous thread and am now waiting for the meeting to pass final judgment.

  • Billy Bingo Cultural Anthropologist

    Some of us are new discussants but long time residents. Seniority of Everyblock membership shouldn't disqualify us or our comments. I am undecided on this development.

  • Helen NoH North of Howard for 55 + years

    Phoenix, you're relatively new here, but this is not the first--and only--place you've commented.

  • Gnorth

    Broiled hamburgers are better than all the other greasy fried ones.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    Hi Helen, I only just discovered every block today. This has been the only thing worth posting on. I have no horse in this race. I am not even a huge BK fan. I go maybe twice a year. There will always be something about the double whopper to me. Probably just nostalgia....I am a big fan of this neighborhood though. I am a big Chicago advocate in general. When I see something or some one that stands in the way of it's progress, I speak up. I have been to a few community meetings here. I always walk away feeling defeated. There is so much negativity. Everyone has the reasons why this or that SHOULDN'T happen. They speak of what they would like to see or what they think would benefit the hood. But there are never answers as to how they will get what they want. Why are these same vocal residents not starting committees and groups to promote and recruit business here. I don't have the time to devote to any committees or groups. I cant go out and fix this neighborhood. So when someone comes along and expresses an interest in starting something that generates jobs and tax dollars I try to be as positive and constructive about the idea as possible. I do not stand in their way while I wait on this business that would fit MY ideals and desires.

  • Tanya

    Wow. Thanks to all who posted in my defense. You've given a voice to my concerns. My issue with the proposed BK hours has to do primarily with noise and loitering. And who knows if the hours would be extended at some point? Yes, the Hop Haus is open late, but its patio closes at 10:00, and it's covered, which limits the noise. It also has doesn't have a drive-thru. I like the Hop Haus; I feel like it has a stake in this neighborhood. Truthfully, I don't think a BK drive-thru would have that feel at all. Again, I can't imagine many people would want to live next to one.

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    Tanya, I'm sorry if I appeared a little snarky in my previous comment. I understand your concern about litter--it is certainly a legitimate concern that I will demand the potential franchisee address at the meeting next week. I also understand and appreciate your view that a drive-thru franchise does not have a neighborhood "feel" or a stake in the neighborhood (though it will be owned by an individual business person, not a chain). But I'm afraid you lose me when you raise the issue of noise, especially given where you chose to live.

    You picked a home in an area zoned for commercial use at the intersection of two busy commercial streets in front of a large shopping center, just down the street from a train station, across the street from a train yard and right above a hamburger joint with a 4 a.m. liquor license and an outdoor patio (which, btw, is uncovered during the summer). There is noise in that area all the time.

    If the proposal was for an industrial or manufacturing use, rather than a Burger King, I would be the first to acknowledge you had a legitimate basis to complain. The noise emanating from such uses could be qualitatively and quantitatively different than what you currently experience. But any noise emanating from a Burger King would be well within the parameters of the commercial area where you chose to make your home. If you wanted to avoid the noise of commercial businesses and thoroughfares, you should have found a home on one of the 49th Ward's quiet(er) residential streets.

  • Tanya

    Thank you for addressing some of my concerns, Joe. I appreciate your trying to see the issue from my perspective. I actually mentioned loitering rather than littering, although littering it also a concern. I don't like the idea of people using the parking lot as a hang-out spot late at night. Also, the Hop Haus does keep the patio covered in the summer. I've spent lots of summer afternoons under the striped awning. It's true that the restaurant stays open until 4:00 a.m., but we don't hear anything past 10:00 p.m.

    With respect to my choice about where I live, I like living in an urban area. I don't think there is anything inherently urban about a BK, though. The fact is that I can't go back in time and research the possibility of a fast food place being built five years in the future on a piece of grass that I didn't know was actually a commercual lot. All I can do now is try to figure out how to prevent it or - if it's approved - ensure that it acts as a good neighbor.

    Again, thanks for hearing me out. I look forward to the meeting next week.

  • Al I. Not Defender of Cartoon Cows

    I'm not super fond of the idea of a BK there, but I do appreciate you bringing this to the community and listening to feedback, Joe.

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    You're right, you mentioned loitering, not littering. Nonetheless, that too is a concern I will ask the potential franchisee to address. The Hop Haus outdoor patio may have a canopy, but it is not enclosed in the summer, as it is in the colder months.

  • EddiePedroza photographer

    Might I suggest going to YouTube and looking up Burger King animal abuse also

  • Kelli Lifelong W. Rogers Resident/Now A Happy Dunningite

    All this talk about their crappy food, and how it's going to kill all of us and ruin the neighborhood. Yes, it's fast food, so what? So is Panera and Einstein's. If you don't like it, don't eat it, but don't tell the rest of us that we're wrong or classless (or don't have "decent waistlines") for eating a darn Whopper, and this franchise will do just fine without the 10 or 15 people on here declaring "I'll never go there!". This is all reminiscent of the campaign to stop the Red Violin liquor store, which is occupying a vacant storefront, serving the community, and paying taxes. There was all this worry and speculation about how another liquor store would ruin the entire neighborhood, but has it actually ruined anything? I don't understand why people will assume what's going to happen, ie excessive trash, loud noises, disgusting stenches, etc., like how people assumed the liquor store would be a hotbed of criminal activity and make our hood look worse. Also, like Joe said, the BK on Howard failed because of a bad owner, not because no one went there. There have been plenty of great local small businesses that have failed because they did not get the support or patronage they needed from the community. Maybe if other businesses see how well RP is doing, how much traffic businesses are getting, and how well businesses are succeeding, that they will then start to look at our neighborhood as an investment. As Donny said, we have to start somewhere. We are a small group on here discussing this, we are certainly not a representation of the community at large, and I had no idea RP had become so elitist that we're worried about appearing "classy". Even Winnetka has a McD's. Maybe when our streets aren't full of trash, dog poop, criminals, and empty storefronts can we be concerned with being "classy" and luring more desirable businesses.

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  • Alissa C Professional Organizer, Cat Lady, Fab Baker

    The overwhelming opposing opinions I've been reading/hearing has nothing to do w/ it being a Burger King per se. It has to do with how this type of business in this specific location will have an impact on safety in general and the quality of living for the residents on the SE corner of Howard & Clark.

    My objections have nothing to do with the type of food, that it's a chain, that it's not "classy" enough or anything so immaterial to the real issues here. As for "assuming", just observe any fast food restaurant with a drive-thru, and make note of the odors, noises, and garbage the leaks out into the neighborhood. It's not a random assumption, it's a reaction to the real conditions that already exists around the same business(es) in other locations.

    I do wonder how many of the 40 new jobs will be full-time jobs, and if the jobs will offer a livable wage and health insurance benefits.

    No one is trying to dictate what people are allowed to eat. There are legitimate concerns that have nothing to do with who the franchisee owner is, or that it's unhealthy food. That's a strawman argument.

    I for one am not against "progress" in the neighborhood.
    I think we'd all like progress that has a positive impact on everyone. Not just new jobs, but new jobs w/ livable wages, in a business that doesn't create safety issues for pedestrians/cyclists, or lower the standard of living for it's neighbors.

  • I am for this all the way. For those who don't like it, how about a Chic Flilet!

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    Alissa, you must be reading a different string than I. There is tons of judgement about the type of food, perception of BK and their customers, and assumptions about the way they will do business.

    While you say that at some point in your life you actually sat outside a drive through establishment and studied the noise, traffic, and smell pollution I really don't believe you. You may have made some passing judgments throughout your life. That does not mean you have done a critical assessment of the way all or even most of these businesses operate. You are taking snipits from your life and making assumptions about how this operation will run. That is what assumptions are.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    Also, most small businesses cannot afford to pay a living wage and offer health insurance. Should we shut down small businesses who don't offer this? I am sure there are plenty of happy BK employees out there. Does Einstein, does panera bread, chick fil a???? Again, stop standing in someone's way just because you wish it was something it's not. If you want a chick fil a, start a franchise. If the vegans need their food, find a chef, rent an old restaurant's store front and start raking in that cash. It's not just an urban area it's a commercial corner. A big huge lot that was always meant to house as many businesses as it could sustain. If Tanya did not realize that, it's not BK's fault. She moved into an area surrounded by stores and restaurants.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    How is this drive through less safe than other drive throughs? Again, it is one of the busiest corners in the hood. Cars and trucks are going by at all hours of the day and night. By your standards there aren't any drive throughs that don't put cyclists and peds at risk. Where can one stick a drive through in your opinion? Why would the lot suddenly become a gathering place? The businesses there are already operating well into the night. BK and their fast food will be the sole thing in that lot that attracts this loitering criminal crowd? If it did happen and you called the police they would come and tell the gathering of loiterers to leave, no?

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  • Al I. Not Defender of Cartoon Cows

    Calling people who disagree with you "the Rogers Park Taliban" is disappointingly immature.

  • I think calling people imature is also name calling and a cheap attempt to win an argument.

  • If you don't like a business, don't go, but don't dedicate your life in trying to change the rules according to your beliefs. That's fascism.

  • EddiePedroza photographer

    If I'm in the Taliban do I need a turbin?
    And to answer the question. Why is BK successful? Because most people don't know and don't care what they put in their bodies and how such places effect the environment.
    See you all at the meeting with my turbin

  • Without name calling, bullying, or telling people what they should or should not eat, I'd like to propose a question. If Burger King would like to call Rogers Park it's new home, what can we do to entice them to move a couple blocks south on Clark? There are empty, dilapidated, and neglected buildings and lots on the corners of Clark and Touhy, and Clark and Estes. How nice it would be to kill two (even three, if we play out cards right) birds with one stone. Eliminate an eye sore on a majorly travelled RP road, bring in a new business, and hire a local demo/construction company to do the work. I understand that that would add significant cost to the start up for Burger King... But it's friggin Burger King, they can afford it.
    I just would love to see N Clark get a little facelift, a fresh new building regardless of what may be in it, would be a great start. Thoughts?

  • still on the rails.. this thread can reach 100 if we all pull together.. until some joker brings up Goebbels anyway. "thats when i reach for my Whopper"

  • Jim A Sic Semper Canis

    I live about 2 blocks from a McDonald's and have a good friend who lives much closer to the same restaurant, so maybe I can offer some insight into some of the concerns raised.

    With respect to the speaker noise from the drive-thru: it is very noticeable if you live within about 300 ft of the speaker in the direction that it faces. It is more noticeable later at night when it is not drowned out by other traffic noise.

    Littering: The actual premises of the restaurant are very well maintained and the particular McDonald's that I have in mind even provides garbage cans that are designed to be accessed from car windows. Nevertheless, there is a fair amount of garbage generated within a two block radius of the restaurant. I think the best hope here is that the garbage fallout will be contained to the Gateway where the managers of the larger property can deal with it.

    Loitering: There is some loitering by the entrance, but it's totally manageable. My guess is that this is an area where management really makes a difference. The Wilson and Sheridan McD's used to be terrible in this regard but new management that arrived several years ago improved things significantly. Hopefully, this operator, who apparently deals mostly in suburban locations, has a plan to deal with potential loiterers; I'd at least like to know what that plan is. As an aside, my brother-in-law who works the second shift and typically shops around 11 PM has stopped shopping at the Gateway Dominick's because of loitering and aggressive panhandling INSIDE the store during those late-night hours. I think it would fair to ask that management install security cameras that monitor the outside of the restaurant and that they readily share their footage. I'm curious to know if there is a company-wide policy in this regard.

  • Jim A Sic Semper Canis

    Also, I visited (i.e. pigged out at) the BK on Dempster near Crawford a couple of weeks ago. I'm pretty sure that the prospective Gateway operator runs this Dempster store. It was clean and seemed well run and had internal security cameras.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    Jim and Kelly, thanks for your positive constructive feedback. It would be awesome if BK was willing to take an already dilapidated parcel and renovate it. But as you pointed out, this would cost significantly more money and possibly go against whatever formula they devise for choosing a location. I am all for seeing if there are ways a business can improve upon their idea for the benefit of the hood. I am all for asking these questions and raising concerns. But if it becomes a deal breaker I would rather see something happen vs sitting on my hands and hoping and waiting for this "more Eco friendly, more healthy, less detrimental to the safety of cyclists, classier, better smelling???, dream business" to come to RP and approach us about developing what has always been designated as a business parcel. The reality is that this business does not exist. They all smell some way or another, businesses with drive throughs are more successful, if it is healthy or not should not be an issue, and every low crime rate high commerce district has fast food in it. They aren't trying to open up shop at Estes and greenview. This is a huge commercial development they would like to move into. The people in the towers above really should have known better. It is called responsible real estate investment.

  • Irish Pirate Littleton/Artist/Uptown/Chicago will need a turban and a fully grown beard.

  • Chet 606 Rogers Park, NOHavana, CE

    Donny. It's been said on a related post that the Gateway center was a poor choice in design and placement. Having the Gateway interests try to maximize business just because there is room to maximize business is just trowing more $ at a problem and delaying the inevitable.

    Ald Moore. Is there a Chgo fund or at the national level (EPA) to encourage businesses to preserve green space thereby making if more profitable for Gateway to keep the grassy area? Mitigating heat island effect is real. I keep reading of businesses going green.

    Cameras are overrated. They provide little deterrent. If they record a crime, most likely the trouble to find and review the footage will be weighted against the type of crime committed. Except for high-level crime, most will be ignored.

    For security to be effective at Dominick's, BK of the Gateway area, more than one un-armed guard is necessary. The type of crime we have in the Gateway center is heavily opportunistic. People hanging around and weighing the possibilities. Reacting to a crime is too late. Security needs to be proactive with many visible security personnel.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    Chester, would you care to elaborate on why the gateway center is poor placement and improperly developed?

    I for one have been very happy with the results of that development. I feel safer walking the area, the aesthetics are far more pleasing than they were before, It is a convenient place to get the items I don't buy from whole foods or the RP fruit market (which is a GEM, by the way), there are more businesses in the area that can be easily accessed in that lot, it was already a very commercial corner, there is a health club, the CTA redid their area to be contiguous with the rest of the development, I could go on and on with the positive changes it has brought about....

    Did you live here before the renovations and development? The CTA stop used to look like a 3rd world market place. A mismatched tin roof over the depot, etc...

    I wish the redline was cleaner, that the patrons didn't urinate and throw garbage everywhere, or play loud music and talk incessantly on their cellphones in close proximity to me, again I could go on and on.....but I am not the courtesy police. I do my part. I simply make sure that I am leading by example. That's how I live my life. I cannot force you to be like me. But maybe you see how respectful I am and you start doing it too, just because you think that maybe if everyone made a little effort it could effect a substantial overall change. When i say YOU, I do not mean you specifically Chester. Just using that to refer to my average fellow citizen. I just with we could all be a little more considerate of our fellow man on a personal level. Our daily interactions could use a little positivity and compassion.

  • Shelena Marie Beach goer

    I dont know about the rest of you but Im seriously craving a whopper right about now, and Im in love with Donny.

  • RP Advocate Servo solvo sermo.

    Kerabotsos how can you be so shallow as to accept the Gateway Center with all of its flaws and imperfections? Yes it has benefits and good shops and convenience and other nice things but it has flaws. Wouldn't it be better to burn it down to the ground and just wait until the "perfect" center could be built? It might take a while, 70, 80, 90 years if ever but at least it would be perfect. Compromise is what is pulling down our neighborhood. We must demand perfection or nothing at all.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    Awww shucks.....

  • RP Advocate Servo solvo sermo.

    Awww shucks right. Next time you can, say hi to Bunny Lebowski for me.

  • Tanya

    Maybe you should convince the Alderman and the residents of RP to scrap the BK and build a bowling alley instead, Donny. Or should I call you Mr. Pink?

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    I don't really know Bunny, she is more of a friend of a friend.

    We used names like "Mr Pink" for a reason! Don't go outing my criminal status to the world! Besides, I would have rather been Mr blue...

    I would love a bowling alley in RP! Bowling alleys are a tough one though. You really have to build a quality clientele or risk that no one will come there because they don't want to bowl with their kids or friends next to a group of rowdy, inconsiderate, or rude patrons. Unfortunately, the majority of bowling alleys go under because the customer base drives away new business. Just look at my friend Walter for example....

  • I am so sick of Rogers Park Mexican, Ethiopian, African, etc. restaurants. They're overkill. Bring on the Burger King. Yum. I had a Whopper Jr. last week with onion rings on top. It was amazing. The Burger King on Howard may have failed due to flying bullets.

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward

    Rogers Park once had a bowling alley--the Howard Bowl--located on Howard Street just to the east of Tanya's condo building. The bowling alley closed in 1990 and remained vacant until the building was demolished in 1998 to make way for the Gateway Shopping Center.

  • A bit O.T., but I remember that bowling alley. I would love a bowling alley! I used to bartend for the German League on Tuesday nights at Lambert's Bowl (on Broadway at Rosemont). I wonder if a small one would work where the Ho is coming down? There is one about that size in Skokie near St. Peter's. I don't know if they make money anymore but I am sure the one on Western Ave. near Lane Tech does. It costs a pretty penny to bowl there. I'll start another thread...sorry...

  • The Bishops 10+ years NOH....yeah, we're here to stay

    I must say the thought of yet another discussion about the BK was going to be just another "why bother", but it did introduce me to Donny; props to you!

    The number of ideologues participating in this discussion is maddening. This is simply further evidence to support my opinion that for a neighborhood that prides itself on such diversity, its intolerance is just as well entrenched. Does having an opinion about ideologues make you one as well?

    That being said, I am now looking forward to Wednesday night's meeting. While I am at it, anybody care to catch a show at Mayne Stage the next night - Thursday 1/24? My buddy's band is playing their tribute to Warren Zevon. At least we'll have something to talk about!

    - chris

  • RP Advocate Servo solvo sermo.

    Our Alderman seems to do a pretty good job of practicing "Realpolitik". He listens to the ideologues and accommodates their passions within reason but also understands the pragmatic aspects of bringing new business into the neighborhood and recognizing the realities of how owners of private property have the right to use and develop their assets within what is permitted by the law. Vegetarians, fast food opponents and persons who find corporate chains, such as Burger King, to be morally offensive don't have much of a legal leg to stand on although they have every right to express their opinions. Much of their "sturm und drang" ends up having little influence on final business decisions. Is this just? Yes it is according to our current system of government.

  • Patricia Haase Disgruntled, disgusted customer

    Gateway is over run by rodents that the esteemed alderman has been unconcerned about. A BK would make them even fatter.

  • Rodents? You should see the rats we get from Morelia!! Part of the problem is the pigs I live amongst too. Also, in Joe's defense, the city cut their rodent patrol from something like 12 units to 2.

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward


    Have you brought this to the attention of my office? If not, please contact us at, or 773-338-5796.

  • Patricia Haase Disgruntled, disgusted customer

    Yes, well. If the business owners were made to be responsible at addressing the rodent problem, pursuant to Ordinance and referred to the Ward Office at one time and never properly followed up on, even though it concurred the problem was extreme and not being adequately exterminated, that would be helpful, wouldn't it? Of course one never knows what was exchanged into who's hands.

  • Joe Moore Alderman, 49th Ward


    Do you want the problem solved? If you want the problem solved contact my office with the details of the location. If you want to rant on EveryBlock about real or imagined slights in the past, go at it, but it won't help me address your issue.

  • Patricia Haase Disgruntled, disgusted customer

    Nonsense, Mr. Moore. It was contacted, it was ineffective, while initially responsive, it blew it off. It has now escalated into a litigious process. It may be noted that had the city and the Ward been more responsive the loss MAY (and I underscore) have not have been so devastating.

    But this is now Off Topic, and thus poor netiquette.. However, Joe, in case you did not know, the purpose of public forums, generally, is for people TO "rant", as you so eloquently put it.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    I will say that it is a pleasure to converse with all of you kind people. To those who do not agree with me, i want to know that you are not without my gratitude. While we do not agree, you have chosen to participate in public discourse. That is the first step in inciting positive change. Your intentions are in the right place. Showing up to the table and listening to opposing view points is one of the hardest parts of this whole process. Kudos to all!

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    Thanks Bishop!

    You may just catch me at that show. I love hitting up the MAYNE STAGE.

  • Irish Pirate Littleton/Artist/Uptown/Chicago

    I honestly don't see how BK would make for a rodent problem. Whatever you can say about unhealthy fast food chain food they do run a clean shop. Especially a free standing store as proposed, much harder to control with common walls and a messy neighbor or two.
    Someone mentioned the storage place having rats and that don't surprise me, there are plenty of places to hide in there and a lot of people store food items.

  • Helen NoH North of Howard for 55 + years

    Mr. Rogers, you didn't seriously think we wouldn't reach 100, did you?

    Good old Howard Bowl. RIP. At least, the Pivot Point Building was saved so that Tanya can now live there. I'm glad for that.

    And thanks to this thread and a friend who explained it to me, I've learned a little popular culture that went right by me at the time. Well, well, Donny, I knew there was something fishy.

  • Helen, all that matters is that I was 100. Can't wait for this meeting. Im sure Alderman Moore and BK can't as well.

  • RP Advocate Servo solvo sermo.

    Bacon Double Cheeseburger junkies can't wait either. Some among us barely have been surviving by eating sticks of butter rolled in bacon crumbles each day to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Medicare doesn't cover that by the way. Please show up at the meeting to support this proposal.

  • Helen NoH North of Howard for 55 + years

    Sticks of butter rolled in bacon crumbles sounds around 75% tastier than having to eat a B.K. burger, but it takes all kinds, Advocate.

  • Pancetta Dance therapist and Foley artist

    I wish BK would start serving up deep fried butter balls from the 2009 Texas State Fair. They were awesome but you have to eat them fast or they begin to melt.

  • The Bishops 10+ years NOH....yeah, we're here to stay

    If we're still fielding suggestions in lieu of BK, may I offer the following, all of which would surely be hits:,0,914079.story

    - chris

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    My favorite part of that article is the center for consumer freedoms quotes. It reminds me of some of our conversation here.

    I am regularly asking myself, "Why does the average American seem to want choices taken away from them?!?".

    I understand smoking is not healthy. I consciously chose to do it anyway. I understand it is not safe to go off into the woods with limited supplies and no communication. I still do it. Nothing infuriated me more than the time I was asked to leave the Evanston beach and go to another because there was no life guard on duty at my beach. I understand there is a drowning risk every time I step into a body of water. I know that certain things aren't going to make me any healthier. It is my choice to do so. These are the things that make me feel alive. Warning campaigns are great. It clues the more ignorant or uninformed Americans to risks they face. I do not need a babysitter to tell me what I can and can't do because it's not safe or healthy. I take personal responsibility for all of my actions. If I were to drown it would be my fault. If I get cancer it will be no ones fault but my own.

    In my opinion this is the single largest problem facing our country. Everyone seems to think its someone else's responsibility to keep them safe or healthy. I am not so broad as to say things like poisoning a population with asbestos that you know is harmful isn't something you should be held accountable for. But it's not McDonalds fault if you spilled hot coffee on your lap and there is no warning on the cup. COFFEE IS HOT, we all know this. It's not BK or Cheesecake Factory's fault if you get heart disease. Everyone knows the bacon double whopper is not a heart healthy option. Freedom is a precious thing. We must let people do what they want and hold them accountable for their own mistakes.

  • Chef Roux Small Business Owner

    I believe it would be illuminating to hear from the Rogers Park Chamber of Commence and actual area business owners.

    As a business owner, RP resident, and having been formally educated in International Banking and Finance, I have very strong and articulate views on this matter that I hope to share at the meeting.

    But, I would like to hear from area businesses and proprietors.

  • Chef, Yes lets here from the Rogers Park Chamber of Comments.

    Bout time they chimed in.

  • Pancetta, If you like deep fried butter balls you should try the fried cream cheese balls at Tommy Nevin's in Evanston. They have bacon bits inside them and are covered with bread crumbs. They melt in your mouth.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    Chef, if you have the time, why not throw these articulate educated opinions on the thread? I will be out of town on business all next week. If you save them all for the meeting, I won't ever get to hear them. That's part of the reason why I started posting so frequently on this thread. If I can't be there maybe some of these folks will carry what I have said here into the meeting with them.

  • tom 2422 Rogers Parker since 1972

    Wow. I just read thru some more of this thread.

    I wonder of BK is going to cater the event? Whoppers and Fish Whoppers are actually pretty good for fast food.

    Thanks go to the Alderman for subjecting this to a public meeting and to negotiating changes with BK prior to the meeting. He doesn;t have to do this.

    The best arguments in favor seem to be:
    - job opportunities
    - an owner who agreed to some aethestic changes and who by some accounts seems responsible
    - nobody else wants to build on this site
    - tax revenue

    The best arguments against seem to be:
    - loitering, already a problem by Dominicks...
    - BK questionable reputation for responsible operations
    - fast food chain and all the issues cited in Fast Food Nation (at some point I could see fast food being taxed extra like booze and cigarettes to help fund the health care industry that deals with all the obese and diabetic folks in our nation).
    - noise and litter
    - cheapens the overall look/feel of Gateway

    I work evenings so I will miss the fun event, but it sure looks interesting.

  • Helen NoH North of Howard for 55 + years

    We'll save you a burger, Tom. You could send the other half to take notes.

  • Jay

    I'd rather have a Wendy's.

  • KLD Resident for nearly 15 yrs.

    Joe, I appreciate BK, but the challenge is that we already had one go down in flames just east of Western and Howard. The property remains an eyesore to all who see it. It disappoints me that we cannot get a more reliable franchisee who trains its staff to smile and treat its customers right.

    I wish that Gateway could snag something more appetizing. I miss Quiznos, but I realize that location makes a difference.

    L. A. Fitness needs a 'better fit' with its message of health. Why does the management team at Gateway seem so incompetent w/r/t getting tenants? Is it really such a bad location? Or does the owner have too much faith in these folks? I actually approached them a while back with an idea, but they never followed up, so I never invested.

    I am glad that Gamestop, L. A. Fitness/Ballys, Marshalls, and perhaps, GNC have stabilized. . . . but BK?

    Again, BK has proven that it cannot hold a property in our neighborhood. I don't know that its distance from McDonalds makes a difference, when you consider the above.

  • Patsy W.

    Adam Velarde, the franchisee, had no connection with that failed and mismanaged venture farther west on Howard. There is no connection what so ever other than the brand name. Keep an open mind and go with the process.

  • KLD Resident for nearly 15 yrs.

    That's irrelevant. The issue is that our ward is now left with an eyesore from the last failed BK, which is not that far away. This reply does not address the fact that this is another Burger King. That is just down the block from McDonalds, but near other franchises in a mixed, but often lower income earner area where cholesterol clogging food creates long term heart health risk challenges to St. Francis and an over taxed city. If it was near the L entrance, then it may arguably make more sense, but building in the parking lot near Dominick's takes business away from Dominick's, as well.

  • RP Advocate Servo solvo sermo.

    The city zoning ordinance doesn't seem to address CCFs (cholesterol clogging foods) or LTHRCCs (long term heart health risk challenges). As sincere as your concerns seem to be, they don't seem to be covered by the formal business planning and zoning process. That is problematic but has no solution.

  • KLD Resident for nearly 15 yrs.

    There is always room for discretion. However, the Burger King that failed still leaves a blight on Howard Street that has yet to be remedied. It comes in the shadow of another regardless of the owner. If there are too many non-diverse fast food franchises, then this seems like an arguable a zoning issue. Just like too many liquor stores, among other things. How many businesses can sell Bud and thrive?

    What are actual reasonable grounds that the Alderman can consider? Is a failed Burger King just down the road, whose 'bones' remain in our area create good faith grounds to oppose? I don't know what better grounds that there are!

    I'd rather have a Trader Joes, among other options for that space. Maybe we can attract an Evanston business to move south!

  • RP Advocate Servo solvo sermo.

    Some people would like another Trader Joe's even though one is opening a mile farther north this spring. I would like a Nieman Marcus or a Mercendes Benz dealership but we have to be realistic about the Gateway Mall. The failed BK farther west on Howard is absolutely disconnected from the current proposal (different owners; different franchise). Let's just focus on the proposal in front of us and drop all the irrelevant and unassociated stuff. Only a thought.

  • KLD Resident for nearly 15 yrs.

    I guess that the real challenge is that no business, other than Panda Express, has put it's . . . in the ring. I would have preferred Panda, but apparently, the proposed design just could not pass muster. That said, I wish that there was an alternative that had market support and interest in the space.

    Why does the management team seem so incompetent? Is it really demand to develop in the area? Or is it the way that they are mistreating the space? Should Dominick's be more pro active at cleaning up the trash that periodically blows around in their lot? Or management with a clean up team and security?

    I felt there was no incentive for me and some investors. I made suggestions; it was like talking to a wall, when we spoke to mgmt at 'Gagway.' I moved on . . the project went somewhere else and someone took else took over. I would not be surprised if others have had the same sort of reaction.

    This is the real issue in my opinion. That's why! There may have been no incentive for interest. I experience this in the Loop everytime our office moves, which is about every decade. When a management team is too fat, then there is always someone else willing to work with you. I fear that Gateway is better off full and working with an equal or higher return, then not as full as it remains.

  • KLD Resident for nearly 15 yrs.

    It is relevant if the Burger King did not survive nearby. Burger King should purchase or demolish the property, but that's not going to happen. I regret the irresponsibility of the last franchise, but BK should step up to the plate. Its failure to do so is a disappointment.

    That said, it disappoints me that the neighborhood is powerless to put pressure on Gateway to reasonably seek tenants to fill the space.

    There are successful businesses that I support and purchase from, like the RP Fruit Mkt. I appreciate the need to create a more attractive space, but consider the audience and the past track record of BK. I remember waiting in that drive thru at BK on Howard Street. Certain safety features did not exist.

    Will safety features become a viable discussion in the plan for the drive thru portion? Or will it, again, but overlooked?

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    Any news from the meeting last night? How did it go?

  • The Bishops 10+ years NOH....yeah, we're here to stay

    surprisingly civil! I'd bet the over...

    - cb

  • tom 2422 Rogers Parker since 1972


  • Helen NoH North of Howard for 55 + years

    Chris, you ducked out early and missed the fight. (Just kidding.) I thought you'd walk me home.

    There was a smaller turnout than I expected. I thought the B.K. team made a very good presentation. Tom, Velarde gave the locations of his other locations in the city, but I'm afraid I didn't take notes for you. Perhaps there will be further tweaks to the proposal, based on comments. Their traffic consultant pretty much promised me to do some things to make drivers aware of pedestrians around the exit.

  • I could only stay for part of the evening. The owner seemed like a committed and capable franchisee. He has 28 BK restaurants in IL and southern WI and employs over 600 people. He mentioned that he wouldn't own the building or the land, just operate the BK. This is a similar situation to the now defunct BK on Howard. The Gateway developers would continue to own both land and building. Both the franchisee and the BK construction rep admitted to the reality that BK has not always done a good job of vetting franchisees prior to 10 years ago, so some of the stores were highly problematic. While I was there, nothing was said as to why this location should flourish while the Howard Street BK bit the dust.

    Forty to 45 people would be employed at the proposed BK with most employees recruited from the neighborhood. Most employees would be PT -- franchisee said it was because his employees prefer that flexibility (code for avoiding the employer penalties under the Obamacare mandate. I don't blame him one bit for utilizing a practice that will inevitably become the norm.)

    When Gateway was developed they entered into a Planned Development Agreement with the City. The zoning variance that is needed now is to allow a drive-through at that spot. Not only would this require Joe’s (City Council) approval, it would also need the approval of the City’s Planning Commission. Joe mentioned that the Panda Express was the only other entity that had ever expressed any interest in that spot. The BK restaurant efforts have been in development for four years.

    More to folllow...

  • The thing that has perplexed me for a long time is exactly what Gateway has done to attract tenants through the years. I had stated in an earlier posting that a neighbor wanted to rent retail space up there years ago, and was quoted rental rates equivalent to Lincoln Park! She took her establishment (still thriving) down to Edgewater as a result. I wonder what is in the “Planned Development Agreement” that enabled the Gateway people to try and charge such rates and not care about such a high level of vacancies. Joe – can the public get a copy of the Agreement that is now in need of this amendment?

    I was hoping we’d hear from the folks at Hop Haus and Ethiopian Diamond to see what they think given the reality that a lot of their best parking slots will now be lost to their customers. Additionally, their customers will have to walk across increased parking lot traffic to reach those restaurants, as they are projecting 40 cars an hour at the drive-through. A guy I know sent me an email after the fact stating he thought this was a done deal. Apparently, Joe’s Ward Zoning Advisory Committee is continuing to weigh in – anyone know who is involved in that group?

    Did anyone who was there jot down the locations of Adam’s Chicago BK stores? I left before that info was provided. Perhaps a look at some of them would tell us how well he lives up to his trash pick-up and anti-loitering commitments.

  • Darrin Greenview Terrace Association Member

    I was impressed with Adam and the proposal for the following reasons
    -born and raised and still lives in Chicago
    -self made (started from nothing and now has 28 locations)
    -involved in his locations physically and through video monitoring
    -employs over 600 people, 40-45 new jobs at this location from the community
    -has stuck with this project to get it to this point over the last 4 years even with many changes
    -original 6 employees still work for him
    -scholarship's are available to employees
    -he is a minority
    -understands the community and wants to be a good neighbor.

    After the meeting I thanked him for his time and with the way some people were treating him am amazed that he still wants to be our neighbor, It goes both ways.

    Some people seem to think that the grassy area is a park or "green space" for the city of Chicago. It's not, it is privately owned land that has always been planned for development but has not been... taxes and upkeep continue. The plaza has empty storefronts, with the increased traffic pulling into the plaza it will hopefully make the location more desirable for other types of business.

    It's a Burger King, not a crack den...It's an underdeveloped 14 year old shopping plaza, not an historical marker.

  • SD.. BK and other franchises hiring predominantly part-time employees has been the norm for quite a while, nothing to do with Obamacare. You know that. I can appreciate the desperate effort to inject a jab at any opportunity, but most reading here are more aware than you think.

  • Al I. Not Defender of Cartoon Cows

    Gotta call it like I see it. Not a fan of having the BK there, but the plan doesn't seem unreasonable and it's a free country. SD, your posts should have a disclaimer on them that you're going to try to include at least one swipe against the other side. I'd love to see more full time employment in the fast food industry, but the truth is as Mr. Rogers says, it has long predated Obamacare. Additionally, the concern about loss of parking rings hollow-- that lot is huge, and I'm doubtful that anybody cares that they'd have to park one block over when going to Hop Haus. (Call me weird, I've never driven there. Not big on drinking and driving.)

  • nice proposal

  • tom 2422 Rogers Parker since 1972

    Good to hear that the owner seems competent. Thanks for all the updates from meeting attendees. Darrin makes a good case for BK moving forward. Thanks Darrin. As much as I hate the idea in prinicple, the fact that this owner has stuck with it for 4 years is impressive and maybe he can prove us wrong and create a viable, well run business.

    That said, I think Suzanne asks some good questions regarding rents and leasing strategy at Gateway. I always find it interesting that some landlords of commerical developments seem to manage to attract good retail tenants and create the synergy of businesses to make a shopping area vibrant and some seem to attract lousy ones and create a problem for the nieghbors.

    Given the TIF for this area and the large sums of public funds that have been invested it sure seems like the folks runing the Gateway Center don't seem to have the skills to attract viable businesses. We can't do better than self-storage for Gateway? We can't find businesses to open at a busy major transportation hub? We have seen some progress at Gateway but it sure has been a slow uphill climb.

    Just wondering why this major infusion of our tax dollars hasn't resulted in a much more vibrant shopping area.

  • KLD Resident for nearly 15 yrs.

    The rent is artificially high and does not create an incubator for future business expansion in the area. This sort of challenge has existed for years in what is becoming the ongoing blight and an eventual tear down at Rogers and Damen. Mike Land, among others such as the former real estate agents, filled me in about all things on that monstrosity that I like to call artificial blight.

    That Damen/Rogers retail strip remains in an area destined for residential development for those who remember the Chinese Buffet that was eventually leveled, which served as a dual home for drunks who hung out on the 'Damen Avenue picture frames' north of Rogers.

    The only good thing about Gateway is the anchors that it has with L. A. Fitness, Dominicks, and Marshall's. Other than that, it is a disaster waiting to happen if any of those anchors pull out. Knowing that that the parking lot can get rather full, since I regularly worked-out at L. A., I find that the addition of the BK may incubate an unintended mess.

    The management at Gateway needs to lower the rent and encourage new business to open up, not deter it. There is no incentive to lease at Gateway. There are many other places willing to rent more for less with heavier traffic geared to potential consumers. GNC, Marshall's and the beauty supplier work because of L. A. Fitness, perhaps. The synergy is just not there in my opinion.

    Fast food does not always attract the sort of traffic that uses Gateway. It will attract those who travel down Clark, but will take up needed parking for Hop Haus, which was a fortunate replacement for what seemed to become elderly restaurant owners. The help has always been a challenge to inspire in our area. The best way to get good help is to attract businesses that benefit the neighborhood.

    I don't know that Burger King will do that. It seems like an excuse to appease the management team at Gateway that seems starving for a tenant; any tenant!

  • ^^^ KLD, I do remember the Chinese Buffet although I never went in there. What were, "The 'Damen Avenue picture frames' north of Rogers?"

  • ^^^ Christine, do you remember when it was Scotty's Restaurant and before that a National Food Store?

  • That I do not remember. I think I remember the Chinese place from around 1995-96'ish. Back then I lived in East Rogers Park and used to drive that route to take the kids to St. Margaret Mary for school.

  • KLD Resident for nearly 15 yrs.

    The East wall of the Chinese Buffet had several areas under the roof, where there may have been planters or Chinese Emblems. These 'squared off' areas were big enough for the inebriated to lie down or sit up and sip their malt liquor or spirit of choice during the evenings. It got so bad, that the City posted signs warning of the fines for drinking in public. The problems emerged when the son of the owner allegedly took over the Buffet. Eventually, the property was sold. I liked the buffet when the old man ran it.

  • Hey Christine. I'm a fan of Tommy Nevin's. Love the shepherd's pie but I've never tried the fried cream cheese balls. That sounds crazy good. Can't wait to try 'em.

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