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Members of Evanston’s Economic Development committee, with just one dissenting vote, moved to recommend City Council approval of a $30,000 loan to Dave Glatt to set up a smaller version of his shuttered Dave’s Italian Kitchen restaurant.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1sst Ward, said she’s been a regular patron at the restaurant that closed this month on Chicago Avenue downtown, and at its prior locations through four decades.

“I’ve eaten Sunday dinner with my family there forever,” Fiske said.

She suggested that if he’d charged a bit more for his meals, Glatt might not have had to close, and suggested that the new location could be more successful by building up its carry-out business.

Glatt said the Chicago Avenue restaurant seated close to 200 people, the planned new location at 815 Noyes would hold only about 40.

Fiske said city staff needs to take a closer look at the financial prospects of the deal and the history of Glatt’s operation before the proposal gets to the City Council for final approval in two weeks.

Fiske said there are two other potential tenants for the Noyes Street space, so she wants both Glatt and landlord Harry Major to get a quick decision about whether the city is willing to make the $30,000 loan Glatt has requested to purchase equipment for the new restaurant.

Aldeman Melissa Wynne also spoke of her long history as a Dave’s customer — but couldn’t quite top Fiske’s story of having spotted an apparently abandoned kitten in the snow outside the restaurant one wintery evening — which she took home and named “Dave’s Italian Kitten.”

Although the long decline of his restaurant has left Glatt in the position of needing to file for bankruptcy protection, only Matt Rodgers, the EDC liaison from the Zoning Board of Appeals, voted against recommending approval of the loan.

Rodgers, who said he managed a restaurant for five years and worked for a national restaurant association for another two, said he knew how volatile the restaurant business can be and expressed doubts about whether the new restaurant’s financial plan included enough of a cushion to get through the often difficult first year.

City staff assured the committee that the city’s loan would be secured by a lien on the equipment purchased through it, but it was unclear what the city might actually be able to recover if it were to try to sell used equipment it might seize.

Four years ago staff assured the same committee that a $200,000 loan to Chicago’s Home of Chicken & Waffles was secured by a second mortgage on the building, but aldermen learned this week that they are likely to get back less than 30-cents on the dollar after that restaurant closed last year.

Related stories

City may make a bet on another restaurant (4/26/16)

Once upon a time it was ‘Exactly what we need’ (4/26/16)

City to eat $154K on failed restaurant deal (4/23/16)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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20 Comments

  1. I guess that changes everything
    “Aldeman Melissa Wynne also spoke of her long history as a Dave’s customer — but couldn’t quite top Fiske’s story of having spotted an apparently abandoned kitten in the snow outside the restaurant one wintery evening — which she took home and named “Dave’s Italian Kitten.”
    =============
    If you can find a kitten outside his restaurant, I guess that means it is ordained that you must give him a loan ! Is this the logic the Council follows—actually not too far off.

    1. Kitten on Snowy Night

      What makes these alderpersons think Dave's could survive where others have failed on Noyes over past few years?

  2. More down the drain-
    Ms Fiske and Ms Wynne are more than welcome to put up or shut up- Put your entire aldermans salary towards the “loan” you are intent on giving Mr Glatt for his private enterprise. IF, in the unlikely event, it does get repaid, you can put in a claim for your salary (against the loss from the Chicken & Waffle fiasco you also supported).

    Selling off used restaurant equipment is always a losing proposition- they’d be lucky to see 20 cents on the dollar for even “gently used” and to be honest, it’s probably worth 30 or 40 cents on the dollar sold as scrap.

  3. More and More Foolish

    This has to be the most unbelievable funding decisions yet.  It is time to consider a move to a city with leadership that is more thoughtful as to how they parcel out what we are continually told are scarce resources.  I hold no ill will toward Dave but he is clearly a bad businessman and not someone who deserves public funds.

    1. kitchen loan

      This is a bad idea. He had a run. Make room for a better restaurant rather than subsidizing a poor one.

  4. Crowfunding not tax funding

    I like both Dave and his restaurant. He has many fans. Why doesn't he do a kickstarter project or similar online thing to raise the money? That way he's get the money outright, not as a loan, and taxpayers wouldn't be on the hook. Win-win.

    1. Crowdfunding

      I agree that using gofundme or another crowdfunding site is a good idea. I'd contribute. Using Evanston funds is irresponsible. Especially in view of the losses already incurred for the wasteful Chicken and Waffle House loan.

  5. Evanston…Is…Not…A…Bank
    If a business needs a loan, it can go to a bank. If a bank will not lend it money, there’s a very good reason.

    Please stop acting like a bank. Stick to your (part-time) day jobs…

    1. Who needs Banks?
      Who needs banks when you have City of Evanston Politburo making loans left and right!!

      200K to Chicken & Waffles…30K to Dave’s..400K for business awnings…3 million for new apt bldg at Chicago and Main (which will have MORE city offices)…raises for Aldermen who are some of the highest paid etc…

      But yet they always need new tax raises, can’t get Dog Beach open on time (thanks to fence cutting beach in half) …need money for garbage pick ups ..have massive school and crime issues.

      Evanston is now Chicago without all the good architecture, museums, good restaurants, nice parks etc

      We can’t wait to leave this year!!!!

      1. Do we have an accounting ?

        Has the Council produced a case by case analysis of loans/gifts over the last 20 years ?

        I.e. Loan made, return on investment [of course scaled by time taken to repay]—or amount of Loss if not repaid. Also comparison to other opportunities by-passed for devoting the money to this instead of other causes–like support [broadly defined] tech companies who had to move from Evanston, letting taxpayer [personal/business] keep more money in their pocket.

              For 'gifts' like awnings, fences [e.g. restaurants at Century Plaza], increase profit brought in and taxes collected because of it–or how long before owner abandoned the spot.

        1. committee
          Now, WHO is on this committee to decide about DIK ? Any conflicts of interest going on? Friends of the aldermen? etc., etc., etc……

  6. This is a bad idea for the

    This is a bad idea for the city of Evanston. Dave knows that if he got a $30K credit line or loan, the bank secures that in someway and in the end would get their money if he closes (again). As pointed out by many readers, the city historically has only recouped dimes on the dollar. Since the city doesn't know how to manage financial risk, they shouldn't be in the loan business. 

  7. Don’t make the loan

    I don't feel as strongly as some that the City should never loan business money to encourage economic development. But I can't see a serious case for making a loan to Mr. Glatt for a new location of his restaurant. For one thing, why did the old location fail? What are the real reasons? And who's declaring bankruptcy, the old restaurant or Mr. Glatt personally?

    But the biggest issue for me is that the Noyes location isn't in need of economic support from the City. Apparently, there are other tenants also interested in the property. And Mr. Glatt could get the financing elsewhere, perhaps from crowdfunding, if nowhere else. At least the chicken place was in an area of town that arguably needed economic development (although I don't think that was a wise loan for various other reasons). 

  8. City council dosen’t make bad decisions – voters do

    Complain all you like about what our alderpersons and the mayor do with our tax dollars but make sure you go out next year and reelect them as you always seem to do.

  9. dave’s italian restaurant

    If Dave lost money in a 200 seat restaurant, why would the Council think he can make money in a 40 seat restaunt.  Judy Fiske is my alderperson —- my taxes pay her salary- — why should my taxes underwrite her favorite restaurateur? ?      Wake up, Council !

  10. Why subsidize a restaurant in Evanston?

    Evanston has many, many restaurants. It's a highly competitive market. 

    We've seen some restaurants open, and we've seen some close.

    Evanston has plenty of restaurants.

    Why should taxpayers subsidize another restaurant?

    What purpose does this serve?

    TP

  11. I see that Weiner and Still

    I see that Weiner and Still Champion on Dempster has closed. Maybe the council can give them $50K to get them back in business.

    Oh, never mind. Alderman Judy doesn't dine there, so that will never happen.

     

  12. Bankruptcy; bad employer
    David Glatt closed his previous location due to bankruptcy; who’s to say he won’t declare bankruptcy again? Additionally, his actions as an employer (he gave no notice to employees that he was closing) are reprehensible and cause for concern.
    The above-mentioned reasons aside, the city should not be loaning money to any businesses.

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