Plans for a new Domino’s on Foster Street in Evanston ran into an aldermanic speed bump this week, but appear to be on track for final approval.
Domino’s franchisee Reece Arroyave, says he plans to build 20 of the new “pizza theater” concept shops in the Chicago area, and he was in a hurry to get the plans for the Evanston store moving, requesting that aldermen introduce and give final approval to the store Monday night.
He described the “pizza theater” concept as bringing the process of pizza-making up front where the customers can watch — “more like a Chipotle experience.”
Domino’s, with 10,000 shops worldwide, has been rolling out the new store concept for a couple of years, with a goal of increasing its carryout business and reducing its heavy reliance on home delivery.
Alderman Delores Holmes, whose 5th Ward includes the planned pizza shop site at 911 Foster St., said Arroyave had been discussing bringing Domino’s to the location since last spring and that only one resident complained about possible noise problems at a zoning meeting on the project.
Holmes said she believes Arroyave has worked out “a really good solution” for the noise concerns and recommended suspending the rules to grant the immediate approval.
“There now are a lot of vacancies in the neighborhood,” Holmes said, “and I think the business will be a benefit to the neighborhood.”
But Alderman Judy Fiske, of the nearby 1st Ward, said she’d heard from neighbors concerned about noise.
“Delivery people are racing through and don’t turn their radios down,” Fiske said. “There are all sorts of problems” along the stretch of Foster Street leading to the university campus.
Fiske said she wanted Arroyave to meet with neighbors and respond to their concerns.
Arroyave said he insists that his drivers be careful and that he plans to stop deliveries at midnight during the week — offering only carry-out service beyond certain hours.
He also said he plans to have some deliveries done by bicycle, to further reduce noise concerns and is working with the university to have parking for delivery drivers in a university lot across the street from the store, as well as off the alley behind the store, to avoid having delivery drivers park in front of the shop.
911 Foster St., in a Cook County Assessor’s office photo.
Fiske originally called for a two-week delay, until the next regular council meeting, but after alderman scheduled a special meeting next Monday to deal with the library tax levy, she agreed to let the Domino’s special use come up for a final vote at the special meeting instead.
Council rules require unanimous consent to adopt an ordinance on the same night it’s introduced, so, although the vote to introduce the ordinance was unanimous, the final action was delayed by Fiske’s objection.
The 911 Foster St. site for many years was home to the Great Expectations bookstore and most recently housed an independent coffee shop called J.J. Java.