The owners of a new cannabis dispensary, bakery and bar in Wheeling have applied for permission to open a similar operation in the nearly-completed Evanston Gateway apartment building at Howard Street and Chicago Avenue.

Permit applications for the special use were filed last week by The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, and the OKAY Cannabis website is already projecting a July opening for the Evanston location.

A rendering of the Evanston Gateway building at 100 Chicago Ave.

When the Wheeling location opened last month, the Chicago Tribune described it as the first store in Illinois to combine marijuana and alcohol sales.

An image of the OKAY Cannabis location in Wheeling from the company website.

The West Town Bakery side of the operation serves beer, wine and liquor as well as bakery goods and other food.

The majority owner is Charles Mayfield, interim chief operating officer for the Chicago Public Schools. Former Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) is among the minority owners.

The Tribune says the owners of the Wheeling shop hope to add a cannabis consumption lounge to their model in the future.

Ald. Devon Reid, whose 8th Ward includes the Evanston Gateway site, has recently pushed to legalize cannabis consumption lounges in Evanston, a proposal that has drawn fire from residents concerned about the health effects of smoking pot.

That proposal was pulled from the Feb. 26 City Council agenda without explanation.

Block Club Chicago reports the proposed new Evanston dispensary could be in for some close competition just across the Chicago border.

Zen Leaf is looking to relocate its Rogers Park dispensary to 7541 N. Clark St., in the Gateway shopping plaza.

And Perception Cannabis, a social equity cannabis license holder, wants to open a dispensary at 7000 N. Clark.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Not sure what is meant by “bad part of town” but Devon Reid is the Council member representing that ward. Perhaps reach out to him with your concerns?

  2. The brief history puzzles me.
    On Feb. 26 the city council scheduled discussion what I thought was theoretical approval of cannabis lounges; but then the topic disappeared from the agenda.
    Now, less than a month later, the council will decide on an actual lounge.
    Did Reid know about this project when he brought up the idea?

    1. Hi Bev,
      The application filed last week is for a dispensary and bakery/restaurant with seating.
      It is not for a cannabis lounge.
      But that doesn’t rule out the possibility that the owners would apply for a lounge license, if it were an allowed use in Evanston, especially given their interest in having one in Wheeling.
      Given that people seeking to open businesses in town frequently talk to the alder of the ward they want to locate in ahead of making an application, it would not be surprising to learn that someone from OKAY had spoken with Ald. Reid about the lounge concept. But I don’t know whether they have done that.
      — Bill

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