Deal falls through for Johnny Rockets in Oak Park

With Cosi closed, landlord expects to announce replacement soon

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

After 10 years in Oak Park, the local location of Cosi restaurant shut down on Monday. The property’s owner, Anthony Shaker, had a deal lined up to bring in a 1950s-themed burger chain to take its place, but it appears to have come apart.

Shaker announced in an e-mail today that he had signed a letter of intent and negotiated a lease for Johnny Rockets to take over the space at 1101 Lake. However, he said, the “parties jointly agreed not to move forward,” and he’ll put the space back on the market on Monday.

He said he expects to announce a replacement for Cosi soon, but declined to comment further.

Shaker first announced back in November that Deerfield, Ill.-based Cosi — with more than 100 locations in 16 states — didn’t want to renew its lease, which expires at the end of this month. Johnny Rockets had planned to split the space with another eatery called Halsted Street Deli, similar to another location at State and Lake streets in Chicago.

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Posted: March 23rd, 2011 4:57 PM

I second the pub idea.


Posted: March 23rd, 2011 1:49 PM

I'd love to see a pub there. An independent pub, not like that crap down the street.

John Hubbuch from Oak Park  

Posted: March 23rd, 2011 9:06 AM

The extremely high property taxes on DTOP properties require very high monthly rent. Only a very few business plans can afford that rent. As a result restaurants with lots of traffic are one of the few enterprises that can fit here. I'll predict a restaurant in the near future.

Fred TAmburino from Oak Park Il   

Posted: March 23rd, 2011 6:00 AM

They did not want to deal with the Health Dept telling them to change things 50 times before they open. I dont blame them!

epic lulz  

Posted: March 23rd, 2011 2:30 AM

Question: "How could anyone think that a hamburger place would want to set up shop right near Five Guys?" Answer: Google "Hotelling's Law"


Posted: March 22nd, 2011 11:26 PM

[cynical remark towards business, taxes and OP gov't]

Forget Buffalo Wild Wings....  

Posted: March 22nd, 2011 9:27 PM

How about a Hooters? That would pep up Lake Street while pissing off all the intolerant-people-who-claim-they-are-tolerant in town!

I don't get it from Oak Park  

Posted: March 22nd, 2011 9:25 PM

So, can we get an LOI with Apple then - I'll go with that, can we? C'mon - can we, pleeease? Now THAT would be worth caring about. At least snarkiness has it's own word.

K from OP  

Posted: March 22nd, 2011 9:17 PM

How about a Buffalo Wild Wings

Mr. Truth from Oak Park  

Posted: March 22nd, 2011 8:24 PM

With the State of Illinois raising the income tax and with School District 97 wanting to raise property taxes to the point that most residents will feel the pain........who will have money to go eat out any more? Eating out is a luxury that I am being forced to give up.

Hamburger Lover from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: March 22nd, 2011 8:13 PM

How could anyone think that a hamburger place would want to set up shop right near Five Guys. They would have been destroyed if they made that move. How about thinking a little bigger and get an Apple store into Oak Park.


Posted: March 22nd, 2011 7:37 PM

"Why even report on such uncertain deals?" Because (some) Oak Parkers care about their Village. A LOI, though less than a contract, is certainly more than uncertain, and deserves reporting.

j.oak park  

Posted: March 22nd, 2011 5:31 PM

yawn. wake me when some crappy fast food place opens up there so i can chuckle about it, only later to choke on my tax bill. Glad the tif is working...ha.

Julie from Oak Park  

Posted: March 22nd, 2011 4:56 PM

I think Oak Park needs another Walgreens in that spot. Or better yet, a CVS!


Posted: March 22nd, 2011 4:52 PM

Snarkiness aside (nearly every comment here), an upscale, independent, chef-driven, restaurant would be nice. There are plenty of mid/low range options on Lake and Potbellies and Three Guys cover the chain options just fine.

I don't get it from Oak Park  

Posted: March 22nd, 2011 2:40 PM

Why even report on such uncertain deals - they're a dime a dozen. Proposed contracts happen all the time.

epic lulz  

Posted: March 22nd, 2011 1:56 PM

Don't worry, folks. The Village will buy the building for 50% above market value, raise it, and put in another parking lot. All will be well.

fred Tamburino from Oak park   

Posted: March 22nd, 2011 4:25 AM

Jonny Rockets would of not made it there at $12.00 for a double hamburger and fries and a drink.


Posted: March 20th, 2011 4:57 PM

Hmmm I wonder if DTOP should help Mr Shaker find a new tenant? After all he tried to sue them over the DTOPSSA.

Violet Aura  

Posted: March 20th, 2011 1:07 PM

Can we have a head shop? Pleassssee??? I wanna buy some black light posters and incense, man! Like wow...

Luap Ydac  

Posted: March 20th, 2011 12:56 PM

Obviously, the Village of Oak Park doesn't care if local businesses fail. They just re-apportion the property taxes, placing a greater burden on the residents of Oak Park, and whatever few local businesses remain.

Villager from Oak Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2011 4:41 PM

@Idea: Okay...but only if there can be an open air drug market there, too (I mean, it goes perfectly with the SRO, right?). The raves at the McDonald's on Madison just aren't as cool as they once were. The chicken nuggets are still good tho...

Idea from Oak Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2011 3:30 PM

Hey how about we turn it into an SRO? After all it is really close to lots of public transportation, and in a area just like the Comcast bldg.

Villager from Oak Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2011 6:24 AM

Hemp Mart would be so cool there. We need a good "smoking accessories" store in town to calm all the ruffled nerves around here. PS - that's my car, kind, wouldja? just trying to get by...

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: March 18th, 2011 11:37 PM

Dollar Store?


Posted: March 18th, 2011 4:39 PM

The @ was intended for Brian. But if Nick is interested I'll bet him too.

Joe from OP  

Posted: March 18th, 2011 4:37 PM

@Nick How about and over/under of 3 years. If it's vacant 3 or more years I win. If less than 3 years you win. Sound good? The winner donates to the other's favorite charity.

Brian from Oak Park  

Posted: March 18th, 2011 3:20 PM

Anyone want to take me up on a bet? That space will be vacant for the next two years.


Posted: March 18th, 2011 1:35 PM

Also, is that the ugliest car or what! Just sayin'

Missing the Mall  

Posted: March 18th, 2011 12:46 PM

Good point Nick. Interesting how the story photo shows the old pedestrian plaza configuration, when that corner was a much more pleasant place to linger over a latte.

C Stewart from Oak Park  

Posted: March 18th, 2011 12:39 PM

I'm so glad that Halsted Street Deli is not coming here. They were in a building where I worked and they were filthy. They would sit on the counter where food was prepared, they were overpriced and when they DID clean, used such strong chemicals that you were unable to eat because of the fumes. Plus they had a roach problem because they would never clean the grease trap.


Posted: March 18th, 2011 12:35 PM

I see how that new construction on Marion Street has really helped out those businesses over there. Things must be booming.

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