Lucky Bernie's the latest business to open in Mundelein's Hawley Lake Plaza

A restaurant called Lucky Bernie's is the latest business to find a home in Mundelein's Hawley Lake Plaza, a once-crumbling shopping center that's been experiencing an economic resurgence.

The menu includes deli sandwiches and wraps as well as beer and wine. Video gambling machines are on the premises, too.

Mundelein Trustee Ray Semple said he's dined at Lucky Bernie's twice since its mid-December opening.

"They have great sandwiches and fair prices for the food and adult beverages," Semple said. "It's a nice addition to the shopping center and our downtown."

Mayor Steve Lentz appreciates that Lucky Bernie's focuses on food first, rather than its five gambling machines.

"Our board of trustees has long frowned on businesses where their primary revenue source is from video gaming," Lentz said. "We feel fortunate that Lucky Bernie's chose Mundelein to launch their business, and we wish them great success."

The Mundelein spot is the fifth Lucky Bernie's location. The others are in Fox Lake, Huntley, Spring Grove and Woodstock.

Lucky Bernie's filled a long-vacant storefront in Hawley Lake Plaza, which is on the northwest corner of Hawley Street and Route 45. It joins the Eating Hub, In and Out BBQ, the Family Fishery and a Subway as the dining options there.

The Eating Hub opened last year, and In and Out began serving hungry customers in summer 2016. The Family Fishery opened in 1976 but recently changed owners.

Those developments followed a yearlong renovation of the shopping center that finished in 2016. The project included the construction of a new facade and a repaved parking lot.

The work was partially funded with taxpayer dollars through a tax-sharing deal between village hall and the center's owner.

As part of the deal, the company will receive a percentage of the sales tax revenue the businesses in the plaza generate. It also will receive a percentage of the center's property tax revenue.

Scott Adams, president and CEO of the Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein and Vernon Hills Chamber of Commerce, said the plaza's renovation "is great to see."

"The village has formed an important partnership with the businesses and property owners, which is starting to take hold," Adams said.

Mundelein Trustee Dawn Abernathy is proud Mundelein offers more than national chain restaurants.

"We have delicious independent restaurants, and Lucky Bernie's adds to our list," she said.

Hawley Lake Plaza offers more than restaurants. A liquor store called Oak Trail Spirits, a Verizon Wireless store and a currency exchange also operate in the center.

Oak Trail Spirits formerly had been called Jim's Liquors but recently rebranded.

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