SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. – It is now legal to drink beer and wine at an establishment in Illinois’ last “dry town.”
Officials in the southern Chicago suburb of South Holland issued a liquor license to the popular Blueberry Field Pancake House & Restaurant, the Chicago Tribune reported. It is a cautious rollout, since only mimosas will be sold at the restaurant. And alcohol will only be allowed to be served with food, village officials said in a news release.
But it is a move that has been in the works for more than a decade.
“The whole ordinance is crafted in the context of wanting to have higher quality restaurants where people can eat and have a beverage with their food,” Mayor Don A. De Graff told the Tribune. “We’re not afraid to move forward progressively but we’re not going to change who we are as a community.”
The unanimous decision to change the ordinance came after years of discussion with church leaders, businesses and neighborhood groups, village officials said in the news release.
“It’s been a long time coming. I mean, why not?” resident Linda Jackson told WLS-TV. “It sounds pretty good to me. It makes me come here even more, especially for dinner or lunch.”
“As a community of Faith and Family, the strong sentiment was that we can change what we do, without changing who we are,” village officials said. “So while the Board has absolutely no interest in ever having liquor stores or saloons in South Holland, the Village Board agreed to allow alcohol, in very limited portions of town, as long as it is served with food.”
Not all residents in the village are happy with the new ordinance. Melvin L. Moore, senior pastor at New Beginning Full Gospel Ministries, called the decision “bittersweet.”
“I want to be optimistic about it. I want to have a wait-and-see attitude. But, I am somewhat concerned,” Moore told WLS. “Some are frightened because of what the future may hold. Some look at the communities that are around us and, certainly, how they’ve changed. South Holland has always been a safe place, a religious place, and what changes it might bring to this community.”
Businesses interested in obtaining a liquor license will have to pay $1,000, can only serve between 11 a.m. and midnight with limited exceptions and must abide by a series of zoning restrictions, according to the Tribune.
“I think it is a wonderful addition to the village,” Brian Tennis, board president of the South Holland Business Association, told the newspaper. “I’m not worried that it’s going to migrate to a bar on every corner.”
Blueberry Field Pancake House & Restaurant owner Pat Haras said that the restaurant will begin offering mimosas on its breakfast menu sometime in September, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
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