Bibibop Asian Grill coming to Vernon Hills

A familiar building on the perimeter of Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills will be getting a makeover for a restaurant new to the village's considerable roster of eateries.

Bibibop Asian Grill, a fast casual restaurant with dine-in and to-go options, will be taking over the space at 700 E. Townline Road, in a free-standing building formerly occupied by Qdoba Mexican Eats that's southeast of the mall.

The chain featuring build-a-bowl "healthy and affordable Asian food" opened its first store in 2013. There now are locations in several states, with a majority in Ohio. In Illinois, Bibibop operates in downtown Chicago and on Meacham Road across from Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg.

In Vernon Hills, the prominently located two-tenant building also housed a Verizon store, which has since relocated. A new tenant for that part of the building has not been named.

The landlord, in cooperation with Bibibop, has informal approval from the village board to make facade renovations.

"It's definitely ready for an update," said Mike Atkinson, Vernon Hills' community development director.

As planned, the existing red facade material on the north tower of the building will be removed and replaced with earth-tone fiber cement panels. To maintain uniformity, the south tower will be painted to match the earth tones of the north tower, according to the village.

"I think the new color scheme is actually a significant improvement on the building," Trustee Thom Koch said.

The village board will make the approval official at an upcoming meeting. Bibibop plans to open in October.

Village officials were told the restaurant is part of a plan by the chain to expand in the Chicago market.

The pending building renovation will be among several ongoing and proposed projects to reshape and repurpose the mall and its perimeter, including the $252 million Hawthorn 2.0 plan.

The plan involves hundreds of luxury apartments, new restaurants and stores, outdoor spaces and other features. The first part has focused on creating a Main Street-style entry on the site of the former Sears anchor store.

The second phase for a mix of 250 apartments and retail/restaurant space involves the demolition of the former Carson's anchor store, which is underway.

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