BLOOMINGTON — The Bloomington Planning Commission is recommending the City Council approve a site plan for a proposed LuLu's Pizza and Gaming at the northeast corner of Washington and Clinton streets.
The commission voted unanimously to make the positive recommendation after no one spoke either for or against the new business at the now-vacant site of the former Mr. Quick restaurant during a public hearing Wednesday.
"I've been looking at that empty lot now for 20 years I think," said Mark Kudrys, who asked during the hearing about the location of the building's air-conditioning units and other mechanicals. "I bought my first property on Washington in 2001, so I would love see something be developed there."
Mr. Quick, which was built in 1964, was demolished in 2002, leaving the property vacant except for a large billboard, which the property owners said they plan to remove.
Mark Allen and Carl Muench, doing business as Carmala LLC, are requesting to build a restaurant on the property that is zoned B-1 for general commercial use. Surrounding businesses include offices, a car wash, a Speed Lube (which Allen and Muench also own), a car dealership and convenience store.
The property is within half a mile of residential properties and is on a bus route.
The site plan will advance to the council for consideration and possible action on Oct. 28, said Bloomington Community Development Director Bob Mahrt.
City planning staff recommended the council approve the site plan, but with several variances. Those included moving the building closer to Washington Street and providing parking in the rear of the property to be consistent with the nearby residential setbacks and other redevelopment in the area, including The Foundry and Green Top Grocery at 921 E. Washington St.
Due to site constraints, the building's location by the sidewalk and size of the parking lot, the city staff also supported a variance allowing the business to omit a 5-foot pedestrian path through the parking lot to the entrance.
The 1,900-square-foot building required 19 parking spots, "but the zoning ordinance allows for parking lot adjustments based on a number of different criteria," said "Those are proximity to mass transit lines, walkability to the adjoining residential neighborhood and also the number of bicycle parking spaces they have."
There are 15 total parking spaces proposed in the conceptual site plan, "but they have adequate land area to provide additional parking spaces if necessary," Mahrt said.
20 B-N restaurants we wish would come back
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The historic Grand Hotel, 1201 E. Emerson St., Bloomington, once served as a winter training quarters for a number of circus acts and was converted into a restaurant in 1937. The property was foreclosed upon by Pontiac National Bank in 2001, sold in 2002 and demolished a few months later.
The former Central Station restaurant in downtown Bloomington, once a firehouse in days gone by, is now home to Epiphany Farms Restaurant and Anju Above.
Arnie's was a popular Twin City eatery for 25 years. Located at the Bloomington airport terminal, it closed in 2003, shortly after the Central Illinois Regional Airport moved to its current location about a mile east. A subsequent restaurant, Arnie's Etc., was open for about a year in the former terminal building, until it closed in 2005.
After 33 years in the heart of Normal, Golden West closed in 2002, after the owners received a surprise offer for the site and decided it was time to sell. The building, 712 S, Kingsley St., was later resold to Tartan Realty and demolished in 2003.
Chicago Style Pizzeria, 1500 E. Empire St., Bloomington, closed in 2015 after 22 years in business when owners Abe and Ruth Taha (Abe is pictured above) decided to retire.
Diamond Dave's, a mainstay at the former College Hills Mall for 21 years, closed its doors in June 2004 in tandem with the gutting of the mall to create what is now the Shoppes at College Hills.
Jerry's Grille opened in 1999 in Bloomington's Brandtville shopping center, taking over the spot used by another eatery, Henry Wellington. It closed it 2005 and then became Goodfellas, which also closed.
After eight years at 407 N. Hershey Road, Bloomington, Ming's closed in 2012. The eatery was facing foreclosure at the time.
Chevys Fresh Mex, 704 S. Eldorado Road, Bloomington, closed in 2011 after being open nearly nine years. The site has also been home to several other restaurants, including a House of Hunan, Shakey's Pizza and Butterfields.
Damon's - The Place for Ribs opened in 1995 at 1701 Fort Jesse Road, Normal. The eatery closed in 2006 after business had declined; the site is now a CVS pharmacy.
Zorbas, popular for serving Greek food, gyros and breakfast, closed in 2015 after its location at 603 Dale St., Normal, was sold to a developer. The eatery first opened in 1983 around the corner at 707 S. Main St.
Shannon's Federal Cafe, 105 W. Front St., opened in 1997 after its owners took over the historic Federal Cafe in downtown Bloomington, which closed two years earlier. Shannon's closed in 2004 because the owners also ran Shannon's Five Star Restaurant, and the demands of both businesses were too much.
The Caboose, a historic Bloomington eatery at 608 W. Seminary St., closed without fanfare in February 2012. The restaurant, with several owners and names including Chuck's Caboose and Barney's Caboose, had been a west-side fixture for more than 60 years.
Delgado's, a popular Mexican restaurant at 201 Landmark Drive, Normal, closed in May 2005 after after 24 years in business. It is now the location of Los Potrillos.
The Mr. Quick restaurant at Clinton and Washington streets had its grand opening in January 1966, with burgers starting at 15 cents and coffee for a dime a cup. The restaurant closed in 2001 and the city of Bloomington later bought the site and razed the building so it could widen the intersection.
Lancaster's Fine Dining, 513 N. Main St., a downtown Bloomington mainstay for nearly 16 years, closed its doors in August 2014. A struggling economy and the upscale restaurant's location in a neighborhood of bars were factors.
Australian-themed Ned Kelly's Steakhouse opened in May 1992 in what was the former location of Bob Knapp's in the Brandtville Center (now known as Morrissey Crossing). It closed in August 2007 after the company's four Central Illinois locations were unable to compete with bigger chains.
Gil’s Country Inn, a longtime, family-owned restaurant in Minier, closed in 2013 after the economy took its toll. The restaurant was particularly known for its fried chicken.
Bennigan's, which billed itself as an "Irish American Grill & Tavern" closed its Normal location in July 2008 after the chain filed for bankruptcy. The eatery, 115 S. Veterans Parkway, was replaced by Wild Berries, which was later closed and razed. Owner Tartan Realty Group of Chicago now plans to build a four-unit development at the site.
Lox, Stock & Bagel closed in May 2004 after 22 years at Normal's College Hills Mall, in tandem with the mall's conversion to the Shoppes at College Hills.
Contact Maria Nagle at (309) 820-3244. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle