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updated: 11/1/2013 4:22 PM

Freedom Plaza brewpub seeks Naperville's OK to sell growlers

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Retail restaurants and microbreweries in Naperville aren't allowed to sell brews in growlers -- the craft beer term for two-liter bottles -- but that could change beginning with a discussion scheduled for Tuesday's city council meeting.

The council plans to start consideration of a new growler permit that would allow businesses with Class B restaurant liquor licenses to sell beer brewed on-site for consumption off-site in 67-ounce containers.

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If the growler permit receives preliminary approval Tuesday and a final nod at a later city council meeting, the first restaurant to apply could be one of four eateries being built with the Freedom Plaza development on the city's north side.

Granite City Food & Brewery, a Minnesota-based chain with 34 locations in 13 states, will occupy one of the four restaurant outlots accompanying a 168-room Embassy Suites hotel scheduled to open next summer at Abriter Court and Independence Avenue west of the Freedom Commons development.

Granite City plans its Naperville location to be an upscale casual "modern American" restaurant targeting customers ages 30 to 65 with lunch, dinner and brunch on Sundays.

"They complement us well for our hotel use of the Embassy Suites," said Samir Lakhany, president of Superhost Enterprises, the parent company of Freedom Plaza developer Lakhany Group Investments. "They have the same type of clientele."

Representatives of the restaurant told Naperville's liquor commission they expect food sales to bring in 80 percent of their revenue and liquor sales the remaining 20 percent. Granite City expects half the liquor it sells to be craft beer brewed on-site, so the ability to sell growlers for customers to drink at home is "crucial," representatives told the liquor commission.

The new growler permit would only apply to retail restaurants or microbreweries holding Class B liquor licenses, and city staff said Traverso's Italian Family Restaurant at 2523 Plainfield/Naperville Road is the only other known licensee that brews its own beer.

The permit would require the growlers to be glass containers filled and sold only by employees at least 21 years old and sanitized, sealed and labeled according to health department regulations.

The council also will consider issuing a late-night permit allowing Granite City to sell alcohol until 1 a.m. Monday through Friday and 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Walker's Charhouse at 8 W. Gartner Road also is reapplying for its late-night permit after a change in ownership.

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