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updated: 1/9/2014 3:28 PM

Gambling cafe eyes former Elgin coffee shop

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  • Ravenheart Coffee closed its doors late in 2013 on East Chicago Street in downtown Elgin.

      Ravenheart Coffee closed its doors late in 2013 on East Chicago Street in downtown Elgin.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer


Editor's note: This version of the story has been corrected to reflect Crown Pointe Amusement's correct business location and the number of stores it has open.

By Lenore T. Adkins

A business likening itself to a Starbucks that serves alcohol in its beverages is investigating whether it should move into the space formerly occupied by Ravenheart Coffee in downtown Elgin.

Representatives from Crown Pointe Amusement, doing business as Java Jills, will meet with the city's liquor control commission Wednesday to discuss a liquor license in connection with opening a combined cafe and video gambling establishment, Mayor Dave Kaptain said.

Businesses must first secure liquor licenses before seeking a video gambling license from the state.

"It's a little bit bigger than just bringing a coffee shop into the downtown," Kaptain said Tuesday.

Ravenheart Coffee, a downtown Elgin staple since 2007, closed its doors on Black Friday after the outgoing management decided they wanted to move on to other things, according Jerri McCue, the landlord.

McCue and her husband, John, ran the coffee shop for a few years until her husband's death.

After that, Elgin businessman Victor Gonzalez took it over, but after he died in 2011, several members of his family stepped up to run the cafe.

"We thank all of you for your support, your friendships and your kind words throughout our time here," a message posted to the cafe's Facebook page said. "Downtown Elgin has always been, and remains, a wonderful place for independent shops of all types, and we couldn't have asked for a better end to our time here at Ravenheart."

The Illinois-based company is looking to open 100 locations within the state, said Laura Tomsa, Java Jills' exclusive property agent. Three locations are already open and four others are in the works.

"Elgin is just phenomenal for them to go into an existing coffee shop because obviously, people are used to getting coffee there," Tomsa said. "They make the lattes and stuff like that. It's truly a coffee shop and the gambling is something people like to do. Hopefully, they understand the concept."

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