The owner of a new taproom in downtown Elgin got approval for a liquor license Wednesday and said he hopes to open in early April.
The city created a new class of license that was granted by the liquor control commission to Elgin Area Taproom, to be located inside Dream Hall at 51 S. Grove Ave. The license allows for the sale of kegs in addition to beer, wine and spirits. The taproom owner is Tyrrel Tomlin of Elgin; the building is owned by Kevin Echevarria, also of Elgin.
The license was approved 6-0 by the commission, which includes all nine members of the city council. John Steffen, Tish Powell and Corey Dixon were absent Wednesday. The council will take a final vote, likely in two weeks.
Corporation Counsel Bill Cogley said staff members worked with Tomlin and Echevarria to come up with a license classification while conforming to the city's philosophy about downtown, where single alcohol container sales are prohibited.
Councilwoman Rose Martinez called it "a well thought" plan. Councilman Terry Gavin said he believes in flexible local government that adapts to the needs of businesses.
The taproom also will serve food and drinks like organic soda and kombucha. It will be on the first floor of Dream Hall, which Echevarria said he hopes to formally open as a food hall in mid-April.
The third floor will hold the headquarters of Echevarria's business, and the basement will hold Legit Dogs & Ice, offering gourmet hot dogs, arcade games and occasional entertainment and movie nights, all pending occupancy permits from the city.
Councilman Toby Shaw cautioned Tomlin not to repeat the history of the previous business at that location, the Smooth Fox, which lost its liquor license in May 2017 after a tumultuous year.
"The location has had challenges, and we can't have any challenges at this location. The leash would be very short, in my mind," Shaw said.
"We know the challenges. We had to really construct a plan," Tomlin said.
"We take it very seriously," Echevarria said.
Echevarria said he's known Tomlin about 15 years. Tomlin was at one time the business partner of Iran Garcia, who owns Dog's Paw Brewing down the street.