Food beat: Big patio plans at Firehouse

A rendering of the proposed expanding patio seating area.

Firehouse Grill owner Pat Fowler hopes to dramatically expand the size of the outdoor dining area at the Chicago Avenue restaurant this summer.

He got a favorable recommendation from the city's Design and Project Review Committee for the changes this week, but still needs approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals and the City Council.

The existing outdoor dining, and parking area in a Google Maps image from last fall.

The changes would increase the outdoor seating capacity from 32 to 74 diners.

They would also eliminate an existing handicap parking space on the property, but Fowler said he's proposing to have a handicap drop-off zone adjacent to the patio.

City staff at the DAPR meeting suggested a handcap space might be added in what's now a loading zone at the rear of the site, adjacent to the CTA tracks.

But Zoning Administrator Scott Mangum said the new patio would be a "very attractive improvement" to the site.

Ryan Jones.

Also at the DAPR meeting, Gotta B Crepes owner Ryan Jones said he likely won't open his planned new location at 2901 Central St. until October. He's continuing to hit the farmers market circuit until then.

An updated window sign at Falcon Eddy's.

Shouldn't have to wait that long for the new barbeque joint, Falcon Eddy's at 825 Church St.

An updated sign in the window this week projects a June 20th opening.