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City fried over Chicken & Waffles

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The City of Evanston will hold a liquor license suspension hearing Thursday for Chicago's Home of Chicken & Waffles, which — the city's attorney says — has failed to renew its state liquor license and is substantially behind on tax and city loan payments.

Corporation Counsel Grant Farrar says the business has failed to pay:

  • Nearly $15,000 owed on a $200,000 economic development loan from the city approved in 2012 used to turn the vacant former auto parts store into a restaurant.
  • More than $92,000 in property taxes on the building.
  • City liquor taxes owed for alcohol sold at the restaurant in October and November.

Farrar says the business, formally known as Signature Food Solutions, Inc., has also failed to renew its corporate registration with the state and that a representative of the business lied in seeking to renew its city liquor license by claiming it would renew the state license.

The city's liquor commissioner, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, issued the liquor licenses suspension order on Friday.

The restaurant, at 2424 McDaniel Ave., which normally is open starting at 9 a.m., was closed when a reporter checked the building at 10 a.m. this morning.

The liquor board hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday in Room 2750 of the Civic Center.

In November the city's Economic Development Committee had been scheduled to consider a proposal to modify the terms of the city loan to Chicken & Waffles because the restaurant had not been generating the level of business the owner anticipated.

That meeting was cancelled for lack of a quorum and the committee's December meeting was cancelled for what was described as a lack of agenda items.

The city's loan to the restaurant is secured by a mortgage on the property, but the property also is subject to a mortgage loan from First Bank & Trust. Those two loans together represented just over half the money invested in the project, according to the city staff memo prepared for the EDC meeting.

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