Charcoal Delights renovation to get financial boost from Des Plaines

The renovation of an enduring family-owned restaurant in Des Plaines is set to get a financial boost from the city.

Charcoal Delights, 1090 E. Oakton St., will receive a $15,000 business-assistance grant to help fund an interior renovation, the city council decided Monday.

The unanimous decision came about two years after the restaurant received $28,474 from Des Plaines for exterior improvements.

Charcoal Delights is owned by members of the Katsis family. They've been serving hot dogs, gyros, burgers and more at the Des Plaines location since 1995 and even longer at an identically named restaurant on Foster Avenue in Chicago. The Katsises have proposed spending more than $80,000 to renovate the dining room at the Des Plaines location. New tables and booths, energy-efficient lights and new countertops are among the proposed improvements, city documents indicate.

“We're excited to create a better dining atmosphere for our customers,” co-owner Demetri Katsis said.

Katsis said he hopes the project will help bring a fresh look to that part of Des Plaines, which is the focus of redevelopment plans at city hall.

City officials spoke enthusiastically about Charcoal Delights, its owners and the renovation plans during Monday's meeting. Mayor Andrew Goczkowski praised Charcoal Delights for “investing in the community in a very real way.”

The business assistance program has a $250,000 annual budget. Before Monday's meeting, only one grant of $10,000 had been awarded this year, Community and Economic Development Director John T. Carlisle said, and no cash has been delivered yet.

The city offers several types of business grants, including ones for awnings, outdoor dining areas, interior improvements and facade improvements.

Businesses are limited to one grant in each category. Interior build-out grants allow businesses to be reimbursed for up to 50% of construction costs. The grant cap typically is $15,000.

The $28,474 the Katsises received from the city in 2019 came from the funds for awning, facade and outdoor seating improvements, documents indicate.

Interior construction could begin by the end of the month, Katsis said. The dining room will close for one week in April to accommodate the work. During that time, only drive-through and pickup orders will be available, Katsis said.

Katsis hopes the project will wrap up by late May.

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  New tables and booths, energy-efficient lights and new countertops are among the improvements planned for Charcoal Delights in Des Plaines. Mark Welsh/
  Renovations are expected to begin this month at Charcoal Delights in Des Plaines, which will receive a $15,000 business-assistance grant from the city. Mark Welsh/
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