ROGERS PARK — A businessman’s request to lift a liquor moratorium on Howard Street has the endorsement of the alderman, paving the way for his grocery store to open in Rogers Park.
Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) said she supports lifting a liquor moratorium at 2033 W. Howard St., where Gaurav Patel wants to open Howard Street Fresh Market.
Howard Street Fresh Market would sell fresh groceries, packaged goods and household essentials. But in order to stay competitive with other local grocers, Patel said his business will need to offer sales of beer, wine and liquor.
Neighbors differed on lifting the liquor moratorium from Damen to Ridge avenues at a community meeting last month, but Hadden said her office received overwhelming support to overturn the ban. In a community survey, more than 86 percent of 196 respondents supported the move versus 13 percent who opposed, Hadden’s office said.
Patel has agreed to cap liquor sales at 20 percent of the grocery store’s overall business, and he will not sell malt liquor or fortified wine products. He will also donate 10 percent of annual store profits to a violence intervention program in the neighborhood and will provide internship opportunities for local high school kids, Hadden said in her weekly newsletter.
Exceeding the 20 percent sales cap could lead to a suspension of the business’ liquor license.
Patel initially pitched a liquor store for the location but overhauled his business to be a a grocery store after neighbors pushed back.
“I want to thank Mr. Patel for working closely with my office to develop a proposal that reflects the community’s values,” Hadden wrote in the newsletter. “Mr. Patel has taken the feedback and concerns to create a proposal that will help revitalization efforts along the Howard corridor.”
Lifting the liquor moratorium still needs to be approved by the City Council, and Patel must submit a “plan of operations” to the city for his liquor sales, said Leslie Perkins, Hadden’s chief of staff. The store could open in around six months.
Howard Street Fresh Market is meant to be a one-stop shop for neighbors looking to pick up items on their commutes, Patel said at a community meeting. It would have a meat counter, frozen section and an international foods section, as well as beer, wine and spirits.
“It’s people that come to get into the store to buy regular daily needs, they want a nice bottle of wine or six-pack of beer, they don’t have to go to Jewel-Osco and they can come to us,” he said.
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