Photo by Kelly White
Mayor Bob Straz speaks at Tuesday’s Palos Heights City Council meeting, flanked by City Attorney Thomas Brown (left) and City Clerk Thomas Kantas.
Two new dining/entertainment establishments opened in downtown Palos Heights this month and they were acknowledged by local officials at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
“We are always trying to continue to develop new businesses,” said Jack Clifford, 3rd Ward alderman, at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.
Opening its doors last week is Zach’s On Tap, 12231 S. Harlem Ave. The bar/restaurant formerly known as Rooftop Tap and before that, Sam Buca’s, is taking on new ownership with Zachary Kubiak.
“If you haven’t visited Zach’s On Tap yet, I strongly recommend it,” Jerry McGovern, 4th Ward alderman, said. “When you go there, be sure to try the duck fat French fries. They are absolutely amazing.”
“I’ve eaten there as well, and the food was delicious,” said Ald. Michael McGrogan, also of the 4th Ward.
The city of Palos Heights Liquor Commissioner, Mayor Robert Straz, will be holding a public hearing to consider the request for a Retailer’s Class A liquor license for Zach’s on Tap at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25 at City Hall, 7607 W. College Drive.
The petition for the license was requested by Kubiak.
City officials discussed that another great place to visit in the Heights is Franklins Public House, 12306 S. Harlem Ave.
The establishment is described as a “gastropub” by local developer Michael Coogan and executive chef Greg Dix, who are partners in the business. Franklins House is built on the site of the former Ben Franklin variety store. It features not only a long beer list, but a menu full of appetizers, burgers, salads and more. And there’s no apostrophe in the name Franklins House, the partners told The Regional News in September when they spoke before the City Council.
“We are adding to the number of unique restaurants we have here in Palos Heights that aren’t anywhere else,” said Jeff Key, 1st Ward alderman. “I’ve personally eaten at both Zach’s On Tap and Franklins Public House and they both have very good food. I would strongly recommend them both.”
City officials received another liquor license request, a Retailer’s Class B, for 7-Eleven, located at 11900 S. Harlem Ave., from petitioner and business owner, Chen Shangrou. Class B liquor licenses allow for the sale of alcoholic beverages at the store’s location.
Straz approved this request and a public hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at City Hall.
Adding to the aesthetic appeal of Palos Heights will soon be a new sign fronting College Drive outside City Hall. The sign will be a contemporary electronic message center (EMC), taking the place of the current brown and white 6-ft. by 13-ft. sign which has a message board that must be changed manually. EMC signs are an eye-catching visual that are in use by schools, churches, stores, restaurants and taverns, among others.
Sealed bids were opened at Tuesday’s council meeting.
“The current sign outside city hall has been standing in place for 30 to 40 years,” Straz said. “The sign’s message currently has to be changed by hand. It also unfortunately does not have the capability to promote multiple events going on in the city. The new sign will.”
A contract is planned to be awarded to a bidder sometime during the month of February, according to Straz.
When a contract is approved by the city council, construction will take place, depending on the weather. The new sign will be the same size as the current one, but it will have a brightly lit 4-ft by 9-ft display, controlled by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
“The Recreation Department has been experimenting with color, print and background color,” Key said.
“It’s going to look very nice once it’s in place,” Straz said.
On the topic of marketing, Straz made a motion to pass a resolution acknowledging the Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau (CSCVB) as the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau of record for the marketing and promotion of the tourism industry in Palos Heights for the 2018 calendar year.
CSVCB is an official destination-marketing organization for the south metropolitan region, representing 62 south and southwest suburbs of Chicago. Working with the Illinois Bureau of Tourism, the CSVCB focuses on marketing the Chicago Southland as a destination for leisure visitors, meetings and conventions, group tours, sporting events and other activities.
CSVCB has always handled marketing for Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens, according to Straz.
In other business, the city has postponed the police ceremony scheduled for Tuesday’s meeting until Feb. 6.
During that meeting, Palos Heights Police Detective Gerald Wodka will be promoted to sergeant, and a new face on the department will be sworn in, Kevin Pomper.
Pomper was formerly a part time officer in both Palos Park and Chicago Ridge. He started with the Palos Heights Police Department Jan. 14.
Wodka joined the department in 2006. He became a detective in 2008, a position he held until this promotion. Tuesday’s planned ceremony was moved because Wodka was ill with the flu, Palos Heights Police Chief Larry Yott said.
In other business, Dolores Kramarski, 3rd Ward alderman, made a motion to approve and authorize the mayor to execute the Local Public Agency Agreement with IDOT for federal participation for the Ridgeland Avenue Corridor Improvements.
Kramarski also made a motion to pass a resolution appropriating the Construction Local Match Funding in the amount of $171,600 for the Ridgeland Avenue Corridor Improvements. Both motions were voted on in unanimous agreement by the council.
This project developed a multi-modal corridor plan for Ridgeland Avenue from 79th Street to 135th Street in the communities of Burbank, Oak Lawn, Chicago Ridge, Worth, Alsip and Palos Heights. The corridor includes or intersects with five Pace bus routes and provides access to the Chicago Ridge Metra Station.