Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl has rejected the liquor license application for a proposed Tilted Kilt restaurant in downtown Evanston.
In her decision the mayor said she had been contacted by hundreds of residents about the bar with most of them saying they opposed it.
She said many residents objected to the “overly suggestive nature of the minimal attire of the female staff” and that corporate representatives from the company said they were unwilling to agree to any modification of the staff uniforms.
The mayor said traffic and pedestrian congestion concerns also counted against the application.
At tonight’s City Council Rules Committee meeting, Mayor Tisdahl told aldermen that this image on the back of a Tilted Kilt employee’s business card helped her decide the bar wasn’t a good fit for Evanston.
Local landlord and restaurant owner Ted Mavrakis, contacted by Evanston Now this afternoon, said he had not yet been informed of the mayor’s decision.
But Mavrakis said he did not plan to appeal an adverse decision from the mayor to the full City Council.
Mavrakis said he instead would pursue opening a Tilted Kilt in Morton Grove, where, he says, local officials have welcomed his interest in the franchise.
Mavrakis said he decided to start with the Evanston location because it would be in the Fountain Square building at 1601 Sherman Ave., which he already owns.
He said he would have spent $1 million on remodeling the now-vacant first-floor space the bar would have occupied and that it would have created 150 jobs in the city.
He said he has a building in mind for the Morton Grove site, but has not yet acquired it.
Mavrakis said the opposition in Evanston was based on uninformed opinion and not fact. None of the opponents, he said, had actually visited a Tilted Kilt.
“People went on the internet and saw a few pictures of girls, and based on that they decided the business was engaging in sexism, soft-core porn and all that,” Mavrakis said. “I guess the mayor bought into that instead of looking at the facts.”
Mavrakis said Tilted Kilt has 54 restaurants across the country with an additional 20 now under construction.
“Did all of these towns not do due diligence except Evanston?” Mavrakis asked.
“Now I guess I’ll be counting the number of Evanstonians who visit the Tilted Kilt in Morton Grove, and send an email to the mayor with that,” Mavrakis added.