Starbucks, Whole Foods seek liquor licenses

RF board set to rewrite the liquor ordinance

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By Deb Kadin

Starting this fall, customers might be able to order up more than a latte and a muffin in the evenings at the Starbucks in River Forest.

And Whole Foods could start selling high-end liquor as the two popular food outlets, just steps from each other in the Town Center mall, plan to offer more at their stores.

Trustees Monday unanimously approved moves that would allow for rewriting liquor ordinances to issue Starbucks a Class 2 for the sale beer and wine on the premises. A Class 4 license also would be issued to Whole Foods to sell Ketel One Vodka; FEW spirits, a brand based in Evanston; and other high-end spirits.

Background checks and amendments to village liquor ordinances will be ready for a vote in September.

The popular coffee spot could become one of several Chicago-area locations to offer "Starbucks Evenings." Three to four wines will be sold by the glass or bottle, and 4-6 craft beers will be sold during the evening hours. Alcohol will be delivered to the table; there will be no bar service. Light appetizers such as flatbreads, parmesan encrusted chicken and other items will also be sold.

Alcohol would be served on the outdoor patio, but customers seated there also would have to buy food, according to village code. Extra fencing will make the outdoor seating more private, secure and keep passersby, particularly teens, from encroaching on the site.

"We are pleased you have chosen River Forest as one of your concept stores. We need to look at safety concerns," Village President Catherine Adduci said.

The extra fare is offered to attract customers in the evening hours, according to a memo written to the village by James L. Webster, an official with Coffee House Holdings, which represents corporate licensing in Illinois, The offerings have been well received in other Chicago-area locales, as well as in Seattle, Portland, Southern California and Atlanta, he added.

"We're not transforming Starbucks into a tavern. It still will be — first and foremost — a coffee bar. There will be no promotion of these products," said John Antonelli, the regional director for Starbucks.

Whole Foods has sold packaged wine and beer since it opened 18 years ago. It is one of the last stores in the Chicago area to sell spirits, said Jason Krapausky, the store team leader, who added that liquor will not be sold until the license is approved.

Reader Comments

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oakparkdad25 from oak park  

Posted: August 21st, 2013 12:23 PM

This Seems Nice But What About All The Shady People Near The Green Line LLooking For Booze Money? Will They Stand Outside Of Starbucks Causing Problems?

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