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Owner of Isam's Liquor Store Fights for More Time

 A more upscale liquor store could replace Isam's Liquor Store despite the owner's willingness to change his ways.
Isam's Liquor Store
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ROGERS PARK — Sam Sadaqa has accepted defeat after the alderman paved the way for an upscale liquor store to replace his shop on Sheridan Road.

But that's not stopping Sadaqa from asking a judge to delay his eviction for at least a few more months so he can sell off what he says is more than $100,000 in merchandise.

Sadaqa has owned Isam's Liquor Store for more than 30 years. But after negotiations broke down with a new landlord, who wanted him to fix up his disheveled store, another liquor store owner requested that a liquor moratorium on the block be lifted so he could apply for a new license and move into 6816 N. Sheridan Rd.

Ald. Joe Moore (49th) agreed to that request — even after he held a public meeting where Sadaqa's supporters, some apparently inebriated, came out in full force.

Two supporters were removed by cops.

"That was the first time in my 23 years as alderman that I had to call the police" during a public meeting, Moore said Tuesday.

The alderman said Sadaqa had plenty of time to comply with the landlord's requests to fix up his store — but Sadaqa never did.

"The only person Sam had to blame was himself," Moore said.

Still, Sadaqa and his supporters rallied for the alderman to step in to help block the new liquor store and keep Isam's in business.

The alderman argued, however, it wasn't his place to "intervene in disputes between [property] owners and commercial tenants."

So he introduced an ordinance this month in the City Council that would allow Pradeep Patel, the owner of Red Violin Fine Wine and Spirits on Clark Street and 10 other liquor stores in the Chicago area, to apply for a liquor license.

Patel plans to name the new store Green Guitar Wines and Spirits, and will occupy about half the space Isam's does.

Isam's has been able to sell liquor at the location despite the moratorium because it was in business before the ban went into place.

Sadaqa said he has a July 1 court date with the landlord's lawyer to officially rule when he has to be out.

He hopes the judge will give him a few months.

"I need extra time to sell stuff," he said, but "eventually, I lose."

Still, Sadaqa asks the same question of his landlord and of Moore: "Why are you going against someone who's been established for 30 years? ... In America, we believe in a second chance."