Moretti's in Barrington to delay opening date, add more outdoor seating

  • Barrington village board members this week endorsed plans for Moretti's Ristorante and Pizzeria to convert a piece of grassy public property into an al fresco dining space on the edge of the Metra commuter rail station's north parking lot.

      Barrington village board members this week endorsed plans for Moretti's Ristorante and Pizzeria to convert a piece of grassy public property into an al fresco dining space on the edge of the Metra commuter rail station's north parking lot. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer, April 2019

 
 
Updated 5/7/2019 5:05 PM

Another outdoor dining area planned for what will be the flagship location of the Moretti's restaurant chain will delay its long-awaited opening in Barrington.

Village board members this week endorsed plans for Moretti's Ristorante and Pizzeria to convert a piece of grassy public property into the al fresco dining on the edge of the Metra commuter rail station's north parking lot. Village Attorney James Bateman will craft a formal agreement for elected officials to consider.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Barrington Moretti's has been in the works since mid-2017, after restaurateur Mark Hoffmann purchased the former Wool Street Grill and Sports Bar, 128 Wool St.

Hoffmann, vice president and owner of Ala Carte Entertainment, said the patio would give the new Moretti's four outdoor dining spaces.

"Every day, I keep coming up with more ways to spend more money and invest in our Barrington location," Hoffmann said Tuesday.

Hoffmann had planned to debut the roughly 9,000-square-foot Moretti's this month before getting the idea for the ground-level outdoor patio. With the additional outdoor space, he said, the new target opening date is just before the Uncork Barrington wine festival July 12, in the Metra lot.

Greg Summers, the village's director of development services, said Moretti's would be required to maintain what should be a 400- to 500-square-foot patio and have insurance for it as part of the licensing agreement with Barrington.

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The eatery also would need an annual outdoor cafe license from the village, the same as establishments using public sidewalks.

Hoffmann said he plans to install "beautiful brick pavers," decorative railing and lighting with antique fixtures for the patio.

"It beautifies the area of the Metra lot and it enhances our curb appeal," he said.

Many changes to the original plan have been made since Ala Carte Entertainment closed on the building purchase in May 2017. They include the addition of a small cafe on the Klingenberg Lane side of the building to serve morning commuters.

As part of the Moretti's project, an 1870s-era house that was next door at 117 Wool St. was moved to accommodate restaurant parking.

Hoffmann didn't want to raze the historic house for the parking, so he gave it to documentary filmmaker Jeff Baustert, who had it towed in September 2017 to his family's Barrington Hills property for use as a guesthouse.

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