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Dunkin Donuts moves back to downtown Antioch

Updated: March 8, 2013 7:14AM

Antioch officials will consider outdoor seating at a new downtown Dunkin Donuts, 442 Orchard St., that will be operated by the same owner of the Dunkin Donuts at Walmart on the east side of the village.

The vacant Still Larry’s coffee shop, formerly a Dunkin Donuts and Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop, was vacated in 2011 and seems the perfect place for a downtown coffee house, said Dennis Gramm, FNC Restaurants, Long Grove. He owns the franchise in the Antioch Walmart and Dunkin Donuts shops in Fox Lake and Volo.

“Outdoor seating and cafe areas at other businesses downtown is welcoming, hospitable and very inviting. This is the perfect business for that kind of feature and continues the downtown theme in this area,” he said.

The west end of the Tsarpalas Building west of Main Street is being gutted and remodeled for the new store Gramm hopes to open in March. He wants to designate about 300 square feet of village-owned property near the west entry as an outdoor patio/cafe area.

It is a unique request, said Dustin Nilsen, director of planning and zoning. All of the other outdoor seating areas are for restaurants that have outdoor seating regulated by permit with their liquor licenses, confining the area to an enclosed patio, deck or sidewalk.

Gramm, who isn’t asking for a liquor license, wants to locate his seating area in what is now a village parking area. “We will have to come up with an agreement that details the plans and includes safeguards. It will have to be clearly visible as an outside seating area, separate from parking,” said Nilsen.

The Village Board on Monday night gave a preliminary nod to the request. “In general, I am in favor of outside seating, but I don’t want this to be an accident waiting to happen. With the proper safeguards this is a great idea,” said Trustee Dennis Crosby.

“I think it is great that Dunkin Donuts is returning to downtown. We need more businesses like this in the area.”

The building is adjacent to Orchard Plaza and next to the post office. “That whole complex of buildings was built decades ago and it is dated. This will look a lot better and break up the monotony of asphalt,” said Mayor Lawrence Hanson.

Nilsen will prepare an agreement to take back to the Village Board for final approval.

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