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posted: 9/18/2012 12:23 PM

State's first Twin Peaks restaurant will open in Wheeling

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  • A sports bar and grill called Twin Peaks will open in March in this Wheeling building that housed Claim Jumper.

      A sports bar and grill called Twin Peaks will open in March in this Wheeling building that housed Claim Jumper.
    Bill Zars | Staff Photographer


Twin Peaks, a chain of sports bars that features beautiful women servers dressed provocatively, will open in March in Wheeling.

The restaurant -- the first in Illinois -- will be in the former Claim Jumper Restaurant at 781 N. Milwaukee Ave., near the Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel.

The Wheeling Village Board approved the restaurant and its liquor license Monday night.

Randy DeWitt, chief executive officer of Front Burner, which owns Twin Peaks and six other brands of restaurants, described the food as "Mom's cooking with a sports bar twist."

The restaurants' website pictures waitresses in abbreviated mountain or Western wear and says "our most prized assets: the friendly, attentive, and beautiful Twin Peaks Girls."

DeWitt said construction will start in November. No changes except signs will be made to the exterior, said Mark Janeck, Wheeling director of community development. The restaurant will seat 354, down from the 421 formerly allowed in the building.

There are about 25 Twin Peaks in other areas, especially Texas, said DeWitt, and he plans to open more in the Chicago area.

DeWitt told the village plan commission earlier this month that the mountain lodge appearance of the vacant building fit the Twin Peaks theme.

He also said the company expects the restaurant to do $5 million a year in business. It will employ 125 to 140 employees, two-thirds in permanent, full-time jobs.

The budget for remodeling and opening the restaurant is about $2 million, according to plan commission minutes.

After Trustee Kenneth R. Brady complained about the condition of the landscaping around the building, Janeck said his department would look into who is responsible for tis care.

Claim Jumper has been closed about a year, Village Manager Jon Sfondilis told the council.

Village President Judy Abruscato did not discuss the matter or vote on it because the bank she works for, MB Financial, had been involved in a foreclosure on the building.

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