A new video gambling cafe selling only light food, beer and wine is coming to Hoffman Estates, and possibly Bartlett, next year.
Both villages have heard a proposal from Loredo Hospitality about building a new business called Stella's that will offer a "small plate" menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner to go with video gambling.
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"We're basically a cafe for adults to grab a bite, grab a drink and play slots or video poker," said Gary Leff, founder and chief operating officer of Loredo Hospitality.
Leff said he is hoping to put five gaming stations in each of the locations, which is the maximum allowed by the state.
"We like the communities. We think it's a great demographic," he said, adding that both of the proposed locations are in high-traffic shopping centers anchored by grocery stores.
Jim Plonczynski, community development director for Bartlett, said Leff is hoping to put a Stella's in a spot at 1015 W. Stearns Road left vacant by Mama Toni's Pizza more than a year ago.
"We're looking at it as a nice addition to the community," Plonczynski said. "It's going to provide not only the video gambling opportunities that people apparently want to see, but it's going to be a nice chic-style restaurant."
The Bartlett village board heard a proposal for the restaurant during a committee of the whole meeting last month. It will now be examined by the village's plan commission and addressed during a public hearing prior to being sent to the village board for approval. Leff hopes to open the Bartlett location by April.
The Hoffman Estates village board last week approved a liquor license for a Stella's that is slated to open by March in the Hoffman Village Shopping Center, which is anchored by a new Mariano's Fresh Market.
Mayor William McLeod said he hopes the business will quickly get Illinois Gaming Board approval to install video gaming machines so it can open soon.
"It's another business that will employ people," he said. "It's an interesting concept and we'll see where it goes."
Besides the Hoffman Estates and Bartlett locations, Leff said he also is in the process of getting Stella's opened in Fox Lake and Melrose Park.