Crystal Lake-based Mexican restaurant aims to create sit-down area

Mexican restaurant Antojitos Mexicanos La Fonda in Crystal Lake is looking to expand its business to create a sit-down area.

La Fonda, which is in the Coventry Plaza shopping center at 35 E. Berkshire Drive, now is a takeout-only restaurant. The owners plan to buy the unit next to the restaurant to expand for a dining room with 64 seats.

The unit next door is occupied by Boost Mobile, but that business plans to move out soon, La Fonda owner Andres Aguilar said.

The Crystal Lake planning and zoning commission approved the request without objection last Wednesday. La Fonda will seek City Council approval on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

Other tenants at the shopping center include about 12 businesses such as a hair salon, Dairy Queen, laundromat and bakery, Crystal Lake Assistant City Planner Katie Rivard said.

Proposed hours of operation would be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Aguilar said.

Owners of the restaurant requested a variance in 15 parking spaces since the required parking for the center would be 124 spaces with the restaurant but the center only has 109 spaces, according to city documents.

The required 124 parking spaces are calculated by the amount of seating. If calculated by square footage, the request is short by only six spaces, Rivard said.

Planning and zoning commissioners were a bit leery to approve the request in case future tenants also request the same parking variances.

“Then we’ve just got an overflow of a situation, and then none of the businesses will be successful because there isn’t enough parking,” chair Jeff Greenman said.

The parking lot currently never reaches capacity, and the later hours of the restaurant should prevent overflow from happening, Crystal Lake City Planner Elizabeth Maxwell said.

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