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Westmont board OKs new business permit, liquor license and store expansion

Dolce’s is reopening in Westmont under new ownership as early as February.

In a 6-0 vote on Jan. 19 the Westmont Village Board of Trustees approved a request for operation of the restaurant in the B-1 limited business district and a Class D liquor license.

“Jason and I are very excited to reopen Dolce’s restaurant keeping it a staple of the downtown Westmont business district,” part-owner Greg Notbusch said. “Dolce’s will remain a warm and friendly place for all to enjoy great food and wine… But now adding our combined business, restaurant and culinary skills, we’re going to expand and elevate the quality of service and most importantly the food. Our hope is to not only create a successful Westmont restaurant, but have it become an anchor of the downtown district that will hopefully attract more new business into the Westmont area.”

Dolce’s had closed its operations at 15 Quincy St. on Dec. 31, 2016.

“Not that long ago, we had learned that Dolce’s, the previous owner of Dolce’s, was going to be closing the restaurant and moving onto other things,” Notbusch said. “We saw this as an opportunity not only as obviously a good business investment, but keeping a restaurant here in the business (district) here in Westmont and maintaining the Quincy block address and not letting the business go vacant.”

Mayor Ron Gunter acknowledged the enthusiasm exuded by Notbusch and his business partner, Jason Van Lente, to get the restaurant up and running again.

“This is a success of a business that closes and then it gets reopened relatively quickly,” he said.

City officials said they have been working with the new owners to ensure a seamless transition.

Dolce’s will reopen without making changes to the name, but will tweak their menu. To add, the restaurant will even retain some of the same employees from the previous owner.

Notbusch said he and his business partner look forward to starting this business venture in Westmont.

“We’re both of us strong advocates of the community of Westmont,” he said. “We’re really excited to make this happen. We know can make it a great success.”

Trustee James Addington raised an issue regarding Dolce’s liquor licensing; questioning the steps the board should take in considering the request.

“Should we act on [the new business item reducing the village’s liquor license count] first before we approve the new [license request] in the same location?” he asked. “Should we eliminate the old one first and then go to this [agenda item requesting for new license] or does it matter? They’re different corporations.”

“Since it’s on the same agenda, … [so that] immediately following the increase in liquor licenses you’ll be decreasing it,” clarified Village Attorney John Zemanek. “The fact that it appeared this way doesn’t matter.”

Variance OK’d for store rear yard

Recent village board action also approves a series requests including a zoning variance for the construction of a new building addition within a required rear yard setback in the B-2 general business district, a zoning variance to increase the number of allowable signs and site and landscaping plan approval for the ALDI store at 6415 S. Cass Ave.

The chain is in the middle of a remodel renovation project across the United States.

Chris Stair, real estate director of ALDI, said the Westmont location is one of the stores expected to see change.

“We are planning on expanding it for numerous reasons,” he said. “One is because we are going to be expanding our product line—adding a lot more fresh, refrigerated-type products to the store. But in addition, we also want to upgrade the store to more of our prototypical-type exterior appearance as well as interior.”

ALDI stores in Wheaton and Darien had seen some remodeling in recent years.

“We want to make this happen and continue our corporate relationship with Westmont through the next 20, 30 years, whatever it may be,” Stair said. “I’m excited to get this down and show you where we’re going with ALDI today.”

Village board action is contingent on plans to maintain a 20-foot setback to adjacent residences and landscape improvements.

The project will take roughly 15 weeks to complete.

“We will be closed for approximately five weeks during that time when we have to do a lot of the major renovation on the inside with the refrigeration and taking out the ceiling and putting in new HVAC, things of that nature,” Stair said. “There will be some shut down, but we will be open during part of the construction and obviously, do our best to keep it as clean and neat for the consumer.”

The renovations are expected to get underway in July.

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