ROGERS PARK — The former Isam's Liquor Store underwent renovations over the past year to finally open this week as the "Starbucks of liquor stores," owner Pradeep Patel said.
The liquor store mogul, who named his new store at 6816 N. Sheridan Road Hops & Grapes, said after legal delays the store would open at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
"This is what I considered to be a Starbucks of liquor stores, a store which will tell the other liquor store owners to spend some money and beautify their businesses," Patel said.
Ben Woodard says it wasn't easy getting the new liquor license for the shop:
Patel said he spent "a lot of money" to upgrade the store, including buying new lights, shelves and coolers. The store is similar to his other Rogers Park store, Red Violin, at 7407 N. Clark St.
Tempers flared last year when more than 100 people turned up to a community meeting to show their support for the Sam Sadaqa, the owner of Isam's Liquor Store, whose lease wasn't being renewed by the building's owner.
Patel was seeking the lifting of a liquor moratorium on the block to apply for a new liquor license. He received support from Ald. Joe Moore (49th) shortly after.
Since 2013, Patel has donated $3,500 to Moore's campaign fund, Citizens for Joe Moore, records show. The first donation was $2,500 in January 2013. In June, Patel contributed $1,000 in two separate donations, according to records.
Patel has also donated $500 to Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and $750 to Ald. James Cappleman (46th).
Other area liquor stores have donated to Moore as well. Bruno's, at 6562 N. Sheridan Road, has donated $5,000 since 2003, records show. Around the Clock, at 1605 W. Howard St., has donated $900 since 2013.
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