'It will be special': New restaurant/bar with live music could be coming to Palatine
A shuttered establishment in downtown Palatine would get new life and a new identity if the plan of a former patron is approved by the village.
Savio Lobo, who works in technology management and lives in Inverness, wants to open MadCats at 117 W. Slade St., the location of the former Mac's on Slade. MadCats would be a restaurant/bar with live music and an expanded floor plan, upgraded decor and a curated menu of excellent food and drinks, Lobo said.
"It will be special," he said.
Lobo, 53, said he frequented Mac's on Slade for about five years until its closure in August 2019.
"For people of my age, there isn't any place in Palatine where you can go and listen to nice music. At least not in the downtown Palatine area," he said. "There are places in Arlington Heights, in Barrington. The only place here is Nellie's, and that attracts a much younger crowd -- and it's a lot bigger."
The live music at MadCats would include blues, rock 'n roll and pop from the 1960s to the 1990s.
"No rap, no metal," Lobo said.
He also would promote young local bands, possibly even high school bands if really talented.
The former Mac's on Slade was named after William "Mac" Reitz, who sold it in 2018 to former manager Jeff Van Horn and others. The establishment closed after it failed to renew its state liquor license and gave up its local liquor license instead of contesting a suspension imposed by the village.
Whatever its issues with the village, Mac's on Slade was a friendly, no-drama establishment with an intimate feel that drew a crowd who truly enjoyed music, Lobo said -- and those are the aspects he hopes to replicate.
Lobo said he's enlisted a team of professionals: Dan Maderak as general manager, Rick Lucier as entertainment manager, and chef Margaret McCarthy, formerly of Mint Julep Bistro in Palatine.
"I would not have gone into this without these guys," he said. His three children, ages 19, 21 and 25, also would help manage the business, he added.
Lobo said he would be the sole owner and has signed a lease pending village approval. He applied for a special use permit under the name Wisewolf LLC, and his request will be examined by the village's zoning board of appeals Dec. 22. He would also need a new liquor license.
MadCats would have a larger footprint than its predecessor, taking over space in the southern end of the building previously occupied by an office and hair salon, said Ben Vyverberg, the village's director of planning and zoning.
If all goes well, the target opening date is St. Patrick's Day, if allowed under COVID-19 guidelines, Lobo said. Otherwise he'll start by opening with takeout food, he said.
Lobo said he knows the hospitality business is tough, but he's committed to seeing his new enterprise succeed. "Broadly, we want this to be really a community endeavor," he said. "I am relying on the patrons who keep in touch with me on and off, asking me to open this place. The success will be based on the people."