LINCOLN PARK — The expansion of the Lincoln Park burger joint with the cow on the roof into a Brooklyn-inspired restaurant and bar hit a snag this summer over a liquor license dispute, but the project is now back on track.
The owners of Etno Village Grill, 2580 N. Lincoln Ave., say that the liquor license problem has been solved and they aim to open in the spring.
"We are ramping up to get going and get done as soon as possible," co-owner Daniel Karatosic said.
Etno's held a community meeting in July where plans for the 178-seat restaurant and bar were presented, and the addition was on track to be completed by August.
The owners met some opposition at that meeting, but it appeared Ald. Michelle Smith (43rd) and the majority of neighbors were on board until a nearby condo association argued its members weren't properly notified of the bar's plans, according to co-owner Mark Kwiatkowski.
That led to a denial of the first liquor license request and a months-long delay, Kwiatkowski said.
Ultimately, Etno's owners met with the condo association and agreed to some concessions, and the city gave the OK for a liquor license in November, said Kwiatkowski, who also owns Headquarters Beercade in Lakeview.
Some of those concessions include closing Etno's outdoor patio at 10 p.m. weekdays and 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays — an hour earlier than the city requires — and banning music in the patio.
Etno's owners also agreed never to seek a late-night liquor license or public place of amusement license, which would allow live music.
The project will quadruple the size of the restaurant at the corner of Lincoln, Sheffield and Wrightwood avenues. Assuming no further setbacks, the two owners hope to open the restaurant, which will have a new name, in the spring.
The owners received building permits for the expansion last summer, but held off on construction until the liquor license situation was figured out, Kwiatkowski said.
The new restaurant and bar will expand into the former Savor the Flavor coffee shop at 2545 N. Sheffield Ave. and into the former credit union immediately next door to Etno on Lincoln Avenue.
The current parking lot at Etno Village Grill will be turned into an atrium-type structure connecting the current Etno building with the revamped former coffee shop and credit union.
Kwiatkowski's other major project, a River North location for Headquarters Beercade, is expected to be completed around the same time as Etno's expansion project.
"That's going to keep our plate full for the time being," he said.