NORTH CENTER — Lou Malnati's is one step closer to opening a new restaurant at the corner of Lincoln and Montrose avenues after its request for a zoning change was approved Thursday by the City Council's Zoning Committee.
But the pizza joint won't be using the building formerly occupied by the Golden Angel at 4344 N. Lincoln Ave., as originally proposed, however.
Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) said the condition of the Golden Angel was "substantially worse" than anticipated. Malnati's will instead build a new restaurant on top of the existing foundation and is still working on final renderings of its revised proposal — none of which affected the zoning request, he said.
Malnati's sought a zoning change in order to operate as a full-service restaurant. In plain English, the pizza purveyors wanted to be able to serve alcohol too.
It's the same zoning classification held by Julius Meinl across the street, Pawar said.
Since Malnati's site plan and renderings were first presented to the community in September, a number of alterations have been made, many of them in response to neighbors' objections.
The most contentious aspect of Malnati's original plan was a sidewalk cafe on Leavitt Street that could potentially seat close to 60 outdoor diners.
Malnati's has reduced the number of seats by 30 percent and has also reduced its freestanding sign to less than 100 square feet.
"These were all concerns put forth by neighbors," said Pawar, who added that the process of bringing zoning changes to residents ultimately produced "a much better plan."