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Culver's Wrigleyville Plan Could Be Just the Beginning for Chain in Chicago

By Quinn Ford | June 17, 2014 11:06am | Updated on June 17, 2014 1:05pm
 The popular chain is aiming to start slinging butter burgers in Wrigleyville by spring 2015.
The popular chain is aiming to start slinging butter burgers in Wrigleyville by spring 2015.
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Facebook / Culver's

CHICAGO — Culver's, the popular burger chain, is planning its very first Chicago location, and it's eyeing hungry Cubs fans.

The Wisconsin-based company, known for its "butter burger," is working to open a Wrigleyville location, according to Jack Rush, an operating partner for the restaurant.

The restaurant would be at North Clark Street and West Cornelia Avenue, just two blocks from Wrigley Field, Rush said.

Justin Obriecht, the prospective owner and franchisee of the location, has five other Culver's restaurants in the south suburbs, including Tinley Park, Orland Park, Frankfort, Homewood and Matteson.

The Chicago location has been approved by the parent company and is going through the permit process with the city. Rush, who is also a part owner of the suburban locations, said Obriecht already has met with 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney to discuss opening the restaurant.

Barring any hiccups, the Culver's location is set to open next spring, Rush said.

"We're really hoping to be open and ready to serve the city of Chicago and all people coming to Wrigley Field before [next year's] Opening Day," he said.

The suburban locations operate from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., but Rush said he planned to keep the Wrigleyville Culver's open later, until midnight or 1 a.m. on weekends and game days.

"We are planning to stay open much later to be able to serve the late-night crowd on Clark Street as well as give the residential area a late-night option," Rush said.

Erin Duffy, Tunney's director of community outreach, said Tuesday that Tunney had met with Culver's about opening a location at 3500 N. Clark St. In an email, Duffy said Tunney "relayed his concerns about late night hours and will work with the community on a plan of operation."

As of Tuesday, nobody had applied for a license, Duffy said, but the restaurant "conforms to the current zoning laws and will not serve liquor."

Butter burger-loving Chicagoans may wonder why the popular chain has taken so long to make it into the city limits. Rush said the high cost of leasing a Chicago location, which makes "that break-even number that much higher," is the main factor.

He said based on the strength of the Culver's brand and the performance of the suburban locations, they are confident the "gamble" on a Chicago restaurant would pay off.

And there's hope for hungry Chicagoans who don't live near the Friendly Confines. Rush said if the Wrigleyville location did well, "we're definitely eyeing to expand off that location into some surrounding neighborhoods."

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