No more wine with this Cheese

  • Written by Bob Rakow

 Oak Lawn restaurant gives up liquor license before hearing

Alcohol no longer will be offered at Chuck E. Cheese’s in Oak Lawn following the latest in series of skirmishes at the family fun center.

 But if problems at the restaurant continue, village officials could look look into suspending its business licence.

Representatives from CEC Entertainment Inc., the restaurant’s holding company, Tuesday voluntarily surrendered the restaurant’s liquor license during a liquor control commission hearing at village hall.
The decision to relinquish the license was made by Chuck E. Cheese’s representatives in an agreement reached before the hearing, officials said.
Mayor Sandra Bury, who also serves as liquor commissioner, accepted the license and called on Chuck E. Cheese’s representatives to meet with Police Chief Mike Murray and Trustee Terry Vorderer to further discuss security measures at the restaurant, 4031 W. 95th St.
Chuck E. Cheese’s is located in Vorderer’s 4th District. He also is the village board’s police liaison.
Bury called the hearing last week after a May 18 disturbance at the restaurant. The fracas involved a large, unruly crowd of approximately 100 patrons—including many young children—who were outside the restaurant when police arrived at about 6:15 p.m., according to reports.
Some members of the crowd were swearing and arguing with one another or ignoring police commands to disperse, police said.

Four individuals were arrested during the incident and charged with disorderly conduct, trespassing or resisting a police officer, according to reports.
Vorderer commended Chuck E. Cheese’s for relinquishing its liquor license.
“It is a progressive type situation. I think it’s a step in the solution process. To be honest with you, this is a very responsible corporation,” said Vorderer, who added that the restaurant has taken steps to improve security, including installing cameras and hiring off-duty police officers to work security.
Debbi Shannon, director of licensing for CEC Entertainment, said relinquishing the liquor license was the right thing to do.
“We’d like to continue to be a good citizen,” Shannon said. “We wanted to show good faith.”
Alcohol represents less than 1 percent of the restaurant’s sales, Shannon said. She added that the family involved in the May 18 fracas had not been drinking.
Mayor Sandra Bury said voluntary relinquishment of the license “was best for all parties.”
“I’m glad they’re not fighting it and dragging it out,” Bury said. “I think it’s the right decision on their part.”
The mayor said she was not convinced that ceasing to serve alcohol would end the problems at Chuck E. Cheese.
“Are we doing everything we can?” Bury said.
She said there has been talk among village trustees to suspend the restaurant’s business license.
“You have to go step by step and you have to try everything up to the point where people begin losing jobs,” Bury said.
But, she said, surrendering the liquor license is an appropriate first step.
“I wanted to act on (relinquishing the liquor license) because it’s something we could do quickly. Again, it’s a step we could take to have it be a safe place to take families and children.”
Chuck E. Cheese has been in the village since 1983.