Mundelein sandwich shop seeks permit for dine-in service
A popular sandwich shop that opened in a Mundelein industrial park earlier this year is seeking formal permission for customers to eat meals on site.
The aptly named GRIL began serving gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches in May at 403 Washington Blvd., Suite 11, and it was a hit from its first day. Launched as a takeout shop and catering operation, GRIL has since added seating and tables to meet customer demand, owner Paul Patricelli said.
Although food production is allowed in Mundelein's industrial parks, sit-down restaurants aren't. So for GRIL to continue offering seating, the business must be granted a variation from village zoning rules.
Patricelli has applied for such a variation, and on Monday night the village board directed administrators to draft the permit -- as long as GRIL limits the total number of employees working at once and the number of seats for customers to 10 or fewer.
Under state plumbing code, allowing more employees or patrons would require construction of a second bathroom, Mundelein Building Director Pete Schubkegel said.
Trustees unanimously supported Patricelli's request, but one expressed concern that granting the permit could lead the board down a slippery slope with the out-of-place eatery.
Trustee Ray Semple said he envisions future requests from Patricelli for permission to add a bigger sign, expand the space and serve wine. Semple also said he fears the creation of a retail business district in that industrial park that would compete with the downtown area.
"If you're so good, we've got another retail district (where GRIL could operate)," Semple told Patricelli during Monday's meeting.
In response, Patricelli said operating downtown would've been much more expensive.
Patricelli also insisted he doesn't intend to expand the Washington Boulevard location.
"I'm not putting another bathroom in there," he said. "I'm not having a wait staff."
Trustee Bill Rekus said he wants Patricelli to consider moving GRIL to downtown if business continues to grow.
Mayor Steve Lentz said he appreciates that GRIL serves people who live and work in the center of town.
"You're filling a huge need right there," Lentz said. "I'm behind you, right where you're at."
Even so, Patricelli later said he felt discouraged by Rekus' and Semple's comments.
"It didn't exactly give me the warm and fuzzies," he said.
Trustees could approve the zoning variation for GRIL at their Sept. 11 meeting.