Mundelein says no to gambling cafes geared to women

  • Dotty's Cafe wants to build two restaurants with video gambling in Mundelein. Dotty's tries to appeal to women with a country kitchen charm, unlike sports bars.

    Dotty's Cafe wants to build two restaurants with video gambling in Mundelein. Dotty's tries to appeal to women with a country kitchen charm, unlike sports bars. Courtesy of Dotty's Cafe

Updated 10/15/2013 5:17 AM

Mundelein's liquor control commission has rejected creating licenses for a video gambling cafe chain geared toward women.

Dotty's Cafe CEO Dan Fischer appeared Monday before the Mundelein Liquor Control Commission. Through its corporate umbrella of Illinois Cafe and Services Co., Dotty's had wanted two liquor licenses and permission to have five video gambling terminals in spaces at 350 Townline Road and 743 Diamond Lake Road.


But in a poll, village trustees who also serve on the liquor control commission split 3-3 on the creation of the two licenses. Mayor Steve Lentz, who is the village's liquor commissioner, broke the tie and said he didn't favor granting the licenses to Dotty's.

Fischer told the Daily Herald afterward he plans to approach the village board again and offer the elected officials a tour of Dotty's facilities. He said the first suburban location in Melrose Park will open next week.

Launched in Oregon in 1992, Dotty's bills itself as an alternative to a sports bar-restaurant where video gambling typically is found. Dotty's has "a warm and inviting atmosphere with country classic charm, just like grandma's kitchen."

Dotty's, which has a self-imposed four-drink maximum, has a decor with knickknacks, flower arrangements and wallpaper. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at the establishment.

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In July, Chicago-based Baum Realty Group announced Dotty's proposed expansion into Illinois from the West. Dotty's has more than 150 locations in Nevada, Montana and Oregon, with plans calling for that many restaurants in Illinois.

Mundelein Trustee Ed Sullivan favored Dotty's, saying there are not similar establishments in the village where middle-aged women can gather.

"A woman is not comfortable walking in and sitting down at a video gaming device in a barroom," Sullivan said.

However, Trustee Terri Voss, who voted against granting the liquor licenses to Dotty's, objected to Sullivan's implication the opponents viewed gambling as a "vice" and his view on where women would be most comfortable at video terminals.

"Trustee Sullivan, I'm sorry, but I think that you have overstepped your line here," Voss said.

Dotty's had projected the 10 gambling terminals from the Townline Road and Diamond Lake Road locations would provide $16,000 annually to Mundelein as its share of $350,000 in revenue. Both Dotty's would operate from 8 a.m. to noon.

Alcohol and video gambling revenue were projected to account for less than 40 percent gross revenue in Mundelein, according to a document Dotty's submitted to the village.

Mundelein village board members approved video gambling when former Mayor Kenneth H. Kessler broke a tied vote in October 2012.

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