Mundelein restaurants get grants for exterior improvements

  • Taco & Burrito Express in Mundelein will use an $18,125 municipal grant to build a patio for outdoor dining. "It is a great opportunity for us," manager Esmeralda Briceno said.

    Taco & Burrito Express in Mundelein will use an $18,125 municipal grant to build a patio for outdoor dining. "It is a great opportunity for us," manager Esmeralda Briceno said. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Mundelein's Tamales Diana will use a municipal grant to purchase a new sign. Here, the restaurant's trailer sits in the West Town Shoppes parking lot.

    Mundelein's Tamales Diana will use a municipal grant to purchase a new sign. Here, the restaurant's trailer sits in the West Town Shoppes parking lot. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/28/2021 3:47 PM

Two Mexican restaurants in Mundelein have been awarded municipal grants for exterior improvements.

The owners of Taco & Burrito Express, 410 E. Hawley St., plan to use an $18,125 grant to help pay for a new patio.

 

And the nearly $2,036 awarded to Tamales Diana, 615 N. Midlothian Road, will help pay for a new illuminated sign.

The funds will come from the village's Business Incentive Grant program.

The village board approved the grants Monday night without opposition.

Grants of up to $25,000 are available for interior or exterior improvements, and up to $5,000 for sign improvements, through Mundelein's business incentive program.

The grants cover up to half the cost of a project. Instead of getting the cash up front, business owners are reimbursed for expenses.

Taco & Burrito Express manager Esmeralda Briceno said the patio will allow the restaurant to offer more outdoor dining. It has a few traditional table sets and a picnic table outside now, but 10 tables are planned for the area, she said.

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The restaurant will hire additional employees to work the patio, said Briceno, whose parents own the restaurant.

"It's something great for the community and something great for our business," she told the board Monday. "It is a great opportunity for us."

The patio is expected to cost $36,250, village documents indicate.

Before the board's vote, Trustee Erich Schwenk said he was he was especially excited about the patio, noting Taco Burrito Express is where he went with his wife, Amber, on their first date.

Trustee Kerston Russell noted he, too, has patronized the restaurant and expressed support for the project.

"I will be the first to have one of those Mundelein burritos on your patio," Russell said, referring to a menu item that comes with refried beans, rice and various toppings.

At Tamales Diana, which is in the West Town Shoppes center, the grant will help pay for a sign above the front door. The eatery's old sign was removed recently when the shopping center's owner renovated the building's facade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The sign will cost nearly $4,072, documents indicate.

The center's renovation was partially funded by money from the Business Incentive Grant program, too.

"The exterior improvements have just been tremendous," Russell said. "It's changed that area."

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