Eric Trujillo, owner of  Eric's Restaurant in Bloomington, raises a sun canopy at the business last year. Facing trouble with the city and neighbors over noise complaints and other issues, he closed the business indefinitely earlier this month. On Thursday, he said he will reopen next week.

BLOOMINGTON — Eric's Restaurant will reopen Wednesday at its location near Miller Park, owner Eric Trujillo said Thursday.

The restaurant at 903 W. Wood St. has been closed since June 13 — the first weekend after the city served Trujillo with an official notice of the Bloomington Liquor Commission's June 9 order curtailing his late-night liquor sales.

"The reason why I closed at that time was because of my kids and my wife. We've been under stress, " said Trujillo. "I needed some time off to be with my family." 

The commission initially fined the restaurant $3,500 for a single violation of the city's noise ordinance on May 17 and then revoked its restaurant liquor license for repeated noise complaints since March. Those penalties were waived, however, when Trujillo agreed to stop serving alcohol after 10:30 p.m.

Trujillo's attorney, Hal Jennings, told The Pantagraph last week that Trujillo was thinking about keeping the restaurant closed and moving to a different location because "he's completely worn out" by some neighbors complaining about the business.

Trujillo said he will comply with the city's 10:30 p.m. restriction on serving alcohol, and "I am hoping that neighborhood customers will eventually support Eric's Restaurant.

"Right now, I can't leave a building that I put all my love in," he said. "My whole life, everything is inside that building — every single penny that I saved."

Trujillo said he opened the restaurant six years ago and didn't serve alcohol for the first 1½ years. He decided to get a restaurant liquor license because he was tired of telling his diners they couldn't drink alcohol with their dinners.

But since last fall, Bloomington police have responded numerous times to complaints of rowdiness and loud noise at the restaurant late at night, especially on the weekends.

"There were customers who were so used to coming in from 11:30 (p.m.) to 1 (a.m.) and there was a lot of revenue," said Trujillo. "So that helped out a lot. Then when that was cut off my self-esteem went down because my business had been growing slowly.

"I don't want to depend on liquor," he added. "We need neighborhood support to keep small businesses like mine going. If my customers love the food and the restaurant is doing good, I will keep it open. We're open for breakfast, lunch and dinner."

The McLean County Health Department will contact Trujillo before he reopens because it likes to routinely inspect restaurants after they have been closed for several weeks or more, said Linda Foutch, food program supervisor.

"I think it's a new beginning. I look forward to going there," said Mayor Tari Renner, who heads the liquor commission. "I look forward to working with him and making him and his entire neighborhood prosperous."

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Follow Maria Nagle on Twitter: @pg_nagle


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