5 new Water Street restaurants excite Naperville leaders

Naperville council likely to increase cap on liquor licenses

Look out, Chicago — Naperville is about to become more of a dining destination, city council members say.

The council reveled Tuesday at the quality of five restaurants seeking liquor licenses as part of the Water Street hospitality district under construction just south of the DuPage River.

The restaurants slated to open this fall or early next year include SixtyFour — A Wine Bar; Quiubo, which offers Mexican fine dining; Santo Cielo, a farm-to-table restaurant with a rotating menu; Blue Sushi, an upscale Japanese restaurant; and State & Main, a British-style pub popular in Canada.

“These are restaurants that you would see in downtown Chicago,” council member Kevin Gallaher said.

Before they open, the restaurants need city permission to sell alcohol. And because they'd like to sell drinks after 11 p.m., they each need a late-night permit, which doesn't come automatically.

The city sets two caps on the number of late-night permits it will give — one for the downtown and another for the rest of the city — in an effort to control the city's night scene.

The downtown cap is at 19, but the quality of restaurants coming to Water Street made council members say they're comfortable increasing it to 24.

“I know it's a big number, but it's a big district,” Mayor and Liquor Commissioner Steve Chirico said about the development featuring a hotel, parking garage, restaurants, shops, Riverwalk improvements, plazas and public art. “It's not so much about the quantity of licensees that we're going to have in our downtown; it's the quality.”

The late-night permit allows sale of alcohol until 1 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends. Council members did not yet take final action to increase the cap, but that is likely to come at the next meeting Sept. 6.

“I'm really looking forward to seeing all of these businesses enter into our market,” Chirico said. “It continues to strengthen our restaurant industry.”

The Water Street District already could be spurring other development nearby.

The city council Tuesday also gave preliminary approval to plans to demolish four houses at the southeast corner of Aurora Avenue and Webster Street and replace them with six townhouses in a development called Charleston Row Homes.

The development is being designed for land originally intended for lower-density housing, and the row homes will be 3½ stories tall instead of the 3 stories typically allowed. But city staff members said the row homes seem appropriate because of the trend of development in the area, especially with the Water Street District to the north. Council members agreed unanimously.

“I'm very excited for this project,” Chirico said. “They're beautiful homes.”

Row home developers now can work on completing their engineering documents to seek a final plat from the city.

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