Now that the village board has decided to approve Bar Louie, I feel compelled to write in support of The Abbey of Oak Park. The Abbey has brought much needed sophistication and elegance to our community. Not just a simple wine bar, the food and service are both impeccable. I am forever grateful to the village for being astute enough to create a new liquor license category for this lovely neighborhood meeting place.

However, I am disappointed at the seemingly arbitrary approach the village has shown in approving an expanded license for The Abbey. The quick approval of Bar Louie’s contract is shocking when one learns that The Abbey has been waiting for over nine months for an amended license.

Ellen Bettenhausen, the owner of The Abbey has worked diligently to make her place a success-despite the inattention shown her by the village. She has jumped through every hoop, met every requirement, and waited patiently for the Clerk’s and the Village Manager’s offices to return her numerous phone calls. We can only wonder at the reason for their continued avoidance.

Is the village really oblivious to how difficult and challenging it is to make a go of a small business? Ellen has invested her heart and life savings in The Abbey. She has really become part of the community. Is the village really unable to grasp how important neighborhood places like The Abbey are to those who live in the village? So many of my haunts are slowly disappearing. There are only few places in Oak Park for adults (sans children) to frequent.

My message to the board: Don’t blow this. Please don’t allow another small business to leave Oak Park.

M. Nora Klaver

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