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Proposed Norwood Park Liquor Store Would Have To Close Early, Alderman Says

By Heather Cherone | February 9, 2016 5:43am
 A community meeting about a proposal to open a
A community meeting about a proposal to open a "high-end" wine and liquor store in downtown Norwood Park is set for Wednesday.
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NORWOOD PARK — A planned "high-end" liquor store in downtown Norwood Park would be allowed to stay open no later than 10 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. on the weekend, under a series of restrictions proposed by Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st.)

A second meeting on the proposal will take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Natoma Park, 5801 N. Natoma Ave.

Bill Assimakopoulos, who wants to open the liquor store at 6054-56 N. Northwest Highway, has agreed to a host of restrictions in an effort to win Napolitano's support in lifting a ban on liquor stores in downtown Norwood Park.

The agreement also gives Napolitano the right to order the store to close at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at his discretion, according to the restrictions.

The store would also be prevented from selling liquor for less than $5.99 as well as all malt beverages and those advertised as offering a high alcohol content at a low price, including fortified wine, according to the restrictions.

In addition, the store must have cameras recording its exterior 24 hours a day, and follow all city ordinances regarding signs, litter, lighting and require proper identification for those buying alcohol, according to the restrictions.

Assimakopoulos, who owns The Vineyards near Touhy and Lincoln avenues, wants to move his store to Norwood Park after Binny's Beverage Depot announced plans to open nearby in Lincolnwood.

After the first meeting about the proposal, Napolitano said he was "impressed" by Assimakopoulos' desire to work with the community and be a good neighbor.

The meeting set for Wednesday will give nearby residents a chance to review the restrictions before Napolitano signs off on the plan and recommends that city officials approve a liquor license of Assimakopoulos, officials said.

Assimakopoulos said he plans to sell specialty European wines, "high-end" bourbon and whiskey and craft beer.

"We will cater to nice customers looking to pick up a nice bottle of wine or liquor after work," Assimakopoulos said. "And I don't want to stay open late."

There are no other liquor stores in downtown Norwood Park, although Ada's Market and Deli sells alcohol.

Former Ald. Mary O'Connor (41st) rejected an application from the 7-Eleven in Norwood Park to sell alcohol in 2014, and another proposal to open a liquor store on Northwest Highway fell apart a year ago.

There is a ban on packaged goods liquor licenses in the strip mall at Northwest Highway and Newark Avenue, which was built in 2014 near the Norwood Park Metra station.

The strip mall includes a recently opened cigar shop, an insurance office, a Subway sandwich shop and Mo Dailey's Pub and Grille, which serves beer, wine and spirits.

The packaged goods liquor license moratorium does not affect restaurants' ability to serve booze.

The moratorium on packaged goods liquor licenses has been in place along Northwest Highway between Raven Street and Neola Avenue since 2007, officials said.

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