Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs is close to completing a deal to purchase property at 110-112 Madison St. for its relocation.
The popular Oak Park-based rib joint sold its current home at 934-936 Madison St. to the village of Oak Park earlier this year for $495,000. Village planners aim to redevelop the property in conjunction with the adjacent property at 970 Madison St., which serves as administration building for School District 97.
Charlie Robinson, owner of the barbecue restaurant, said in an interview that “everything is pretty much set” for purchasing the building, which stands across the street from Oak Park Village Hall.
Robinson said he’s been working with the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation to complete the deal.
“We are working to get this thing solidified,” Robinson said. “Hopefully, we can get this thing done, so we can start renovating the [new] place.”
The storefront at 110 Madison St. is currently occupied by Fima African Hair Braiding. The owner of the store, who declined to give her name, said her shop has rented the location since 2001.
Robinson said he “kind of regretted the price” the village paid for his current location and hoped that he would be able to get some funds from the Madison Street Tax Increment Finance District to help pay for the relocation.
“I had an opportunity to get out of [the deal], but I didn’t,” he said. “I’ve worked with [Village President] Anan [Abu-Taleb]; he’s a nice guy and been fair with us…”
Robinson said he expects to be out of the building by September or November and hopes to open the new restaurant location before the end of the year.
The 110-112 Madison St. space is substantially smaller — about 3,000 square feet — than his existing restaurant, which is around 10,000 square feet, Robinson said. He noted that the smaller location will require Robinson’s to rent warehouse space for vehicles and other equipment his business uses for outdoor festivals such as Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza and the Chicago Air & Water Show.
Robinson said he has no idea what the village has planned for his existing location.
“They know what they’re doing, but they’re not talking about it,” he said.