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Isam's Liquor Store Closes as Aldermen Vote to Lift Liquor Moratorium

By Benjamin Woodard | September 13, 2013 7:01am
 A more upscale liquor store could replace Isam's Liquor Store, which closed officially in September 2013.
Isam's Liquor Store
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ROGERS PARK — The Cowboy has hung up his hat.

Isam's Liquor Store, known for clerk David "The Cowboy" Sadaqa, who wore a Texas-style cowboy hat and told bad jokes to late-night customers, closed its doors this week after 30 years at 6816 N. Sheridan Road after pressure from the landlord and Ald. Joe Moore (49th).

The alderman and his City Council colleagues voted unanimously Wednesday to lift a liquor moratorium that had prevented anyone from applying for a liquor license on the block.

The vote paves the way for liquor magnate Pradeep Patel to replace Isam's with a more upscale store. Patel said that now the moratorium is lifted, he plans to apply for a license within a few weeks.

"I appreciate and respect the trust and the City Council has put in me in allowing me to make an application," he said. "I'll make sure the vision that I have promised in terms of creating an upscale shopping environment, that I would abide by it."

Patel, who owns 11 other liquor stores in the Chicago area, including the newly opened Red Violin Wine and Spirits on Clark Street, said he'd signed a lease with the Sheridan Road building owner. But the deal was contingent on whether the moratorium was lifted on both sides of Sheridan Road from Pratt to Lunt avenues, and then whether he could obtain a new liquor license. Isam's was able to operate at the location because it was there before the moratorium was put in place.

Now Patel needs the OK from Chicago liquor control commissioner Gregory Steadman, which could take up to six months, according to Moore.

Patel plans to name his new store Green Guitar Wine and Spirits.

Sam Sadaqa, Isam's owner and The Cowboy's brother, said he was working to empty the storefront on Sheridan before Sept. 15 when his extended lease is up.

His previous 10-year lease wasn't renewed by the building's owners after negotiations broke down over the past couple of years.

In May, two rowdy protesters who supported Sadaqa were escorted out of Ciao Bella Cafe by police at a public meeting hosted by Moore about whether he should support lifting the moratorium and pave the way for Patel's new store.

Sadaqa says he's looking for a new location to open a store, but not in Rogers Park. After the meeting in May, Moore said Sadaqa would "never" open another store in the 49th Ward.