Man tries to lure EP girl into vehicle

  A man driving an SUV attempted Friday to lure an Evergreen Park girl into his vehicle, police said.
  Police said the girl was walking in the 2700 block of 98th Street to Central Junior High School.
  The man, described as white, mid 40s, average build, bald with a black and brown mustache and wearing a black jacket, slowed his Chevrolet Suburban alongside the girl and said: “Do you want a ride? Get in.”
  The student did not reply and the man drove away south on Washtenaw Avenue, police said.
—Regional News report

Stolen car leads to burglary charges

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  A stolen car was the key to Evergreen Park police arresting four individuals involved in several recent resident burglaries in the area, police said.
  Police on Oct. 20 spotted a car at the Shell station in the 2600 block of 87th Street. The car was reported stolen 30 minutes earlier from a residence in Evergreen Park.

  Police later learned that the car’s keys were taken during a Sept. 6 residential burglary and that the driver and three passengers were involved in several burglaries in the area.
  A subsequent search of an abandoned building in the 8200 block of Kedzie Avenue in Chicago revealed several items which were taken during the burglaries, police said.
  Christopher A. Sparks, 30, and Robin M. Fields-Tiner, 23, both of Chicago, were charged with retail theft. Ryan N. Fields-Tiner, 22, of Chicago was charged with unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle, and Levert P. Wragg, 59, of Chicago, was charged with criminal trespass to motor vehicle.

  The investigation is ongoing and has revealed the offenders’ involvement in incidents in Chicago, police said.

Battering Rams

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Reavis treated roughly by inspired Bulldogs

  Evergreen Park certainly did Reavis no favor.
  By squeezing out a victory over Richards in the closing seconds of a Week 5 showdown between two unbeaten squads, the Mustangs no doubt put Bulldogs players in an ugly frame of mind. Richards coach Tony Sheehan didn’t deny it, but stated that his guys used the Evergreen “wake-up call” in a positive manner.
  “This was probably one of our best weeks of practice,” Sheehan said. “The kids were really focused. I think they realize what’s in front of them and what’s at stake, and we came ready to play Friday night.”
  Did they ever. While the visiting Rams threatened to make some early noise, the Bulldogs’ defense refused Reavis entry into the end zone. Richards’ offense, meanwhile, racked up four first-half touchdowns and eventually claimed a resounding 40-0 South Suburban Conference Red triumph at Korhonen Field.
  “I hope it will continue,” Sheehan said of his team’s solid exhibition,” and I think it will. You’ve got to play your best every week or you’re going to get beat because this conference is so balanced. We learned that last week.

Oak Lawn favorite going strong in new location

  • Written by Dermot Connolly

Flap-jacks restaurant has been a popular breakfast and lunch destination in Oak Lawn since it opened in 1995 at 111th and Cicero Avenue, and many feared it would be lost when the redevelopment of the commercial property it was located on necessitated a move.

However, the owners, brothers Nick and George Stamos, were adamant about staying in Oak Lawn, where they have lived since the 1970s, and were able to find a new spot in the corner of another shopping strip at 4710 W. 95th St.

“We opened in August 2014, and business has been great. It has been great due to the support of the community,” said Nick Stamos. “You should see this place on Saturdays and Sundays.” The restaurant known for its pancakes and omelettes, is open from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. George Stamos is credited with creating the restaurant’s five homemade batters, seven homemade syrups and toppings.

“We’re on a busy corner (just east of Cicero Avenue) — we might be in a quieter corner, but we like this spot,” said Stamos. “Of course, we would have liked to stay where we were too,” he added with a smile.

He was reluctant to move from the original location, and the village ended up giving the owners $2.3 million in compensation for having to move out of the TIF district.

“Coopers Hawk restaurant is now where we were located,” Stamos noted.

He said the new location, formerly the site of the Top Notch restaurant, required a lot of updating and rehabbing, but “we were lucky to find this. Suitable spaces for restaurants are hard to find in Oak Lawn.”

“We spent seven months working on it, but I enjoyed it. The only thing left of the old Top-Notch is the floor,” he said.

“We’re very thankful to Mayor Sandra Bury and the other village officials who helped us,” he said.

“If we were older, maybe in our 70s, we would have considered retiring. But we’re in our 50s, and we wanted to keep working,” said Stamos, who just got married in August.

“Because the community has been good to us, we want to give back to the community,” said Stamos, explaining why the restaurant holds regular fundraisers for Park Lawn, a social service agency serving people with intellectual and development disabilities.

Flap-Jacks also serves as a drop-off point for donations for Toys for Tots.

The original Flap-Jacks was located about a block from the Park Lawn site at 5040 W. 111th St.

“Over the years, we’ve developed a great friendship with them,” he said. “Several times a year, on Saturdays, we hold fundraisers in which 10 percent of each bill is donated to Park Lawn,” said Stamos, pointing out that the next fundraiser will be on Dec. 19.

“And it is not just the money we bring in, we contribute our own money, too,” he added. “I think Park Lawn does great work. The people it serves would be lost without it.”

He said the restaurant recently hired a client of Park Lawn as a bus girl. “She does a great job, and it is good for her to be able work and earn a paycheck,” he said.

Stamos said that while business has been good, they probably have lost some former customers who lost track of where they moved or what happened to them.

“A lot of our business comes by word of mouth,” said Stamos, admitting he doesn’t use rely much on advertising or social media. “We let the food speak for itself.”

Mayor, trustee spar over cafe liquor license

  • Written by Sharon L. Filkins

What started as a routine Worth Village Board meeting on Nov. 17 took a quick turn when the approval of a business application for Eli’s Café located at 10607 S. Harlem Ave. sparked a heated discussion about granting another liquor license for a video gaming café.

Over the strong objections of Trustee Colleen McElroy, the application was approved in a 5-1 vote.

McElroy, who co-chairs the Economic Development Commission with Trustee Rich Dziedzic, who also oversees Building, Licensing and Ordinances in his role as trustee, adamantly objected to the vote because the Economic Development Commission had recommended in its Nov. 12 meeting that it not be approved.

“What are we doing here?,” she asked. “What is more important to the village, sales tax revenue or the appearance of our village?” She reminded the board that Roma’s Café, also a video gaming business, had been approved last month and granted a liquor license.

“We are working on a long-range plan for the village with the RTA and hired a consultant to advise us. They have recommended to us that we look at the number of same-type businesses allowed to determine what is best for the overall future of Worth. Are we just wasting everyone’s time?

Citing a recent Open House Town Hall meeting on the Long-Range Plan, McElroy said it seemed apparent that residents want more restaurants, both fine dining and family-style, along with a better atmosphere for the village in general.

McElroy suggested that the role of the EDC be reevaluated. “It would be nice to get some direction from the Board. What role do you see for the EDC?”

“What they are doing, is good. Our last meeting was just a little rough,” Dziedzic responded.

Trustee Kevin Ryan said, “The EDC is a recommending body, but we (the Board) have the final word. We don’t want to be counter-productive.”

Agreeing with him was Trustee Pete Kats. ”I agree, we need to control our liquor licenses, we need to take a good hard look at it and set a number. But to say ‘No’ to this one would be wrong. A lot of hard work has gone into this project.”

Prior to the vote, Dziedzic responded to McElroy’s comment about the earlier approval of Roma’s Café, stating that there had been a misunderstanding with the owner of Eli’s Café about the timing of the paperwork needed for his application.

“They have come forward in good faith and provided the information needed and have offered to make the changes we had requested regarding the type of food they will serve. We are comfortable with allowing another liquor license at this time.”

In a statement before the vote was taken, Mayor Mary Werner said, “I have supported this project from the beginning because the business owner, Elias Mseeh, also owns the property and has proved to be a good business partner with the village.”

In a later interview, McElroy said, “We need to make sure we are all on the same page with our long-range plans and what we want for the village. We (the EDC) need more communication from the liquor commissioner (the mayor) and building, licensing and ordinances. These applications should be coming to the EDC first for review, especially on businesses prohibited by our Municipal Code. How long are we supposed to wait for paperwork to be in order? We need more control of what is coming in. I believe we are over saturated with video gambling businesses and I am not in favor of any more being approved.”

Werner later addressed those issues.

“The heart of the problem seems to be that the Board has the authority to change an ordinance,” said Werner. “There are two mandates in our Municipal Code; the number of liquor ordinances allowed and the number of tattoo licenses. If we want to add a liquor license, we can change the ordinance, which is what we did in this case.”

Werner reiterated that she had been for this project from day one because the business owner was also the landlord and had proved to be a good partner with the village.

“The building has been empty for a long time and he has maintained it and kept it in good shape,” she said.

She added that even though there had been a delay in the paperwork being turned in, when Mseeh returned in September still expressing the desire to open the business, Werner sent an email to the trustees on Sept. 10 asking if they were interested in adding a liquor license. All were in favor except McElroy.

Werner said she notified Dziedzic of the responses on Sept. 14. In October, the required paperwork was returned. The next step was for the EDC to review it. On Oct. 6, all the information was provided to the EDC so they would have it for their Nov. 12 meeting.

“The bottom line is that even though the EDC does not recommend an approval, the Board has the final authority” Werner said.

Currently, there are 24 liquor licenses in Worth, with 13 of them issued to businesses with video gambling, including the recent approval of licenses for Roma’s Café (not open yet) and Eli’s Café.

In other business, the board voted approval to continue its Electric Aggregation Program and Power Supply Agreement with Eligo Energy LLC. The contract calls for a flat rate charge to residents and no charge for opting out of the program.