The family behind Culver’s restaurants in Woodstock, Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg is one step closer to acquiring two Fox River Grove landmarks that could be bulldozed to make way for a drive-thru hamburger restaurant.
The Fox River Grove Zoning Board of Appeals approved special permit requests Wednesday night from petitioner Barry Himmelfarb – a Culver’s franchisee in negotiations to buy Mr. Beefy’s and Villa Bleu Tavern & Restaurant – to open another fast-food restaurant with outdoor seating.
Himmelfarb now will go before the Village Board at
6:30 p.m. Thursday to seek final approval for the project.
Several residents objected to a Culver’s opening at 512-516 Route 14, a stretch plagued with traffic jams – a problem that could become worse with a dinnertime drive-thru rush.
“It’s going to put a drive-thru right in my backyard,” said Fox River Grove resident Chad Etter, who has lived behind the Mr. Beefy’s property for 15 years and worries noise from the restaurant will disrupt his family’s life.
The smell from the popular Fox River Grove gyro shop is unbearable in the summer, Angie Rodstrom said. She fears Culver’s will make it worse.
“I’m going to smell gasoline, I’m going to smell food, I’m going to smell the garbage,” she said.
Zoning board Chairman Dan Celske shared some of the residents’ concerns.
“At times, it’s going to be a little clogged in there,” he said.
If Himmelfarb acquires the properties and builds a Culver’s, the restaurant would be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from
10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Dan Skoubis – the owner of both Mr. Beefy’s and Villa Bleu – is in negotiations with Himmelfarb. A deal has not been finalized.
The thought of an imminent demolition of Mr. Beefy’s and Villa Bleu has bloomed a melancholy mood in some residents.
“I’ve been going to Villa Bleu for 40 years,” resident Joe Pesce said. “I’d hate like [heck] to see it knocked down.”