Mundelein considering letting customers bring wine to restaurants

Mundelein officials are considering allowing restaurant patrons to bring their own wine to enjoy with their meals.

The village's economic development commission feels a bring-your-own-bottle policy would boost business at local eateries.

"Sometimes restaurants patrons prefer to bring their own wine to accompany their dinner," commission member Yossi Bonomo wrote in a memo. "Those customers, who wish to celebrate a special occasion or have a nice dinner with a special bottle of wine they had purchased elsewhere, unfortunately seek other locations such as Libertyville or Grayslake that do permit outside alcohol."

Commission member Mike Allred unveiled the proposal during Monday's village board meeting. Trustee Dawn Abernathy suggested limiting self-supplied beverages to wine, and the other trustees agreed with that concept.

Village officials have informally discussed allowing restaurant customers to supply their own alcohol "for several years," but the idea never took hold, Village Administrator John Lobaito said before the meeting. Recently, however, a restaurant owner asked about changing the policy and the economic commission started looking into the issue.

As part of their inquiry, commission members spoke with local restaurant owners about the proposal, and they heard no objections. Several restaurateurs, including those who run Mambo Italiano and Taste of Paris, strongly supported the proposal and said it would boost their business.

For the plan to be enacted, a new liquor license class must be created. It would only be available to restaurant or bar owners that already have liquor licenses, Lobaito said during Monday's meeting.

A proposed amendment to the village liquor license ordinance could be ready for a board vote in December or January, Lobaito said.

Trustees debated whether to charge restaurateurs and bar owners an additional fee for the proposed license.

A commission survey of other towns that allow patrons to bring their own liquor to restaurants found the annual fees for such licenses range from $25 to $1,000.

Abernathy opposed making businesses pay an additional fee for this service.

Towns allowing restaurant patrons to supply their own alcohol include Buffalo Grove, Lake Zurich, Libertyville and Wauconda. Gurnee, Grayslake, Hawthorn Woods and Vernon Hills are among the communities that don't allow such service.

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