Saturday, June 13, 2009

Safety Plan For Taste Of Chicago At The Former Jug Liquor...

Stock Photo, John Hoff

Though a gigantic dumpster has appeared in front of the former Jug Liquor, it appears the entire building is not going into the dumpster. No, rather the interior is being gutted but the building itself--which kind of looks like a mutant, overgrown phone booth--is being renovated into a "Chicago-style" food joint.

At the June meeting of the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Board, "Taste of Chicago" owner Nidal Mustafa distributed copies of his "safety plan" for Taste of Chicago at the former Jug Liquor location. As a public service, I'm just printing the information so residents and other interested parties can have it easily available. Here it is...

Points of Interest and Discussion Items.

#Parking Lot. The current parking lot can accommodate up to 6 cars and there are 1 Hour parking spaces on the street in front of the building as well.

# Accessing the restaurant--traffic will turn from Broadway Avenue, park in designated spots, and exit around the back of the building onto Washington Avenue. No public alleyway will be used to accommodate traffic.

# Foot traffic. The restaurant will be a walk-up style business where orders are placed through a window. The building is larger than it appears and customers will actually walk in and order. There will be 12 window seats for waiting (similar to the set up in any Chipotle-style restaurant) No bathroom is required for a restaurant that has 12 or fewer seats, which will also contribute to the safety of the facility as patrons will not be able to use restrooms to use or exchange drugs, etc.

THere will be a newly-constructed porch outside the front of the building where people can eat or wait. This structure will be attractive to passersby and will contribute to the vision of the "New Broadway."

# Security--Staff at the Taste of Chicago will work with Lt. Jeff Rugel of the Minneapolis Police Department and Officer Richard Walker. These officers will provide advice and guidance as well as recommending off duty police officers which will be hired to work at least 4 nights per week. Nidal Mustafa will also serve as the primary security liaison for the property since he is always there and obviously has a vested interest in maintaining the order in and around his business.

# Partnerships--The Taste of Chicago has initiated conversations with Mike and Val Levey--who plan on opening the former Johnny A's restaurant and Bar as Good Sports Bar and Grill, Ron from Absolute Tire and Swami Palanisma (owner of most of the block) to form a Block Club of sorts where each property will provide a security officer to patrol the businesses on the block and/or will contribute financially to hiring a full-time security officer to complement other security measures in place for each respective business.

# Nidal Mustafa also owns the Slice of Chicago and has extensive experience cleaning up a problem area/parking lot. Nidal took note of the loitering and drug dealing being done around his business and took immediate steps to eliminate these problems. He hired off-duty police officers to patrol his grounds and personally would go outside and ask dealers and others idling around his business to leave.

Nidal realizes this is an ongoing effort. In the event that any individual or group chooses to cause problems at the Taste of Chicago location, trespassing orders may be issued by law enforcement and staff at the restaurant will ensure that these people do not continue to frequent the premises.

(End of Document)

I'd like to add that I have spoken to at least one well-informed resident of the Jordan Neighborhood who seriously questions Mustafa's sincerity about trying to clean up the 1600 West Broadway location of "Slice of Chicago." Now that I've figured out where that location is in relationship to the Jordan Area Community Council headquarters, I have become more aware there is A LOT OF DRUG DEALING on the corner of that lot at 1600 West Broadway.

So I have my own reservations about Mustafa's plan, but overall I see a modest food establishment as being integral to the "destination block" and "security coalition" being formed by all the various parties.

And, notably, the official plan is "Taste of Chicago" wouldn't remain there forever at the former Jug Liquor location. In three to five years, the plan is to tear stuff down and build a bigger retail establishment. Plans have a way of being seriously delayed and modified, but even if this plan isn't looks very good compared to what we had before.


Anonymous said...

I would encourage any readers who are interested in getting a real live feel for the business that Mr. Mustafa runs at Slice of Chicago (approximately at Broadway/James) - go to the restaurant, go several times, at several different times per day. And be sure one of your trips is a late night visit.

Jordan Neighbor said...

I know there are some readers out there who can anonymously comment and give us some details of what was taking place in the "ice cream" part of the slice of chicago. The "ice cream" part is now closed down and replaced by cell phone, beeper, and urban street gear tee-shirts for sale. Just what Broadway needs, more wireless and street gear.

Is it any wonder that no one wants to come live here and those of us that do live here have to shop and eat outside of our community?

Looking forward to reading the anonymous comments from folks who have inside scoop of what has transpired, but who may not be able to talk openly about Mr. Mustafa's new business proposal.