2 new restaurants to open in Willowbrook

Two new restaurants are closer to opening their doors in Willowbrook following approval of special use permits by the Village Board Monday.

The latest additions to the village’s greatly expanded roster of dining spots will be Oishi Sushi inside the Hinsdale Lake Commons retail development at 6300 S. Kingery Highway (Route 83), and a Chicago-style sandwich restaurant called ChiShack that will occupy the former Kentucky Fried Chicken location at 301 W. 75th St.

The Village Board approved a special use permit for Oishi, as well as a permits and variations for a drive-through for ChiShack, on a 4-0 vote. Village Trustee Dennis Baker was absent Monday night, as was Trustee Umberto Davi.

Each new restaurant will be relatively small. Oishi Sushi will occupy about 1,900 square feet in the shopping center, a portion of which once housed a unit of the Blockbuster video chain. The restaurant, which will be adjacent to Phillies Pizza Bar & Grill, will offer seating for up to 73 diners. Parking was deemed adequate, but additional parking could be added in 2015 or beyond once Whole Foods opens in the anchor spot formerly occupied by Dominick’s Finer Foods, according to village officials.

Heading up the ChiShack restaurant venture is John Bobak, one of three brothers who inherited the Bobak Sausage Co. from their father, Frank Bobak, who founded the business on Chicago’s Southwest Side in the 1960s. At ChiShack, John Bobak intends to specialize in the types of sandwiches Chicago is known for nationally: Italian beef and sausage, Polish sausage, and hot dogs, along with barbecued ribs and other menu choices. The location, at the southwest corner of 75th Street and Clarendon Hills Road, will likely draw a sizable portion of its customer base from Hinsdale South High School, which is just across 75th Street to the north.

ChiShack will offer seating for about 30 patrons, with an outdoor patio area featuring table space for another 28 customers when weather allows. Changes to the existing drive-through lane at the site are intended to improve overall traffic flow, with the added benefit of providing additional green space at the site. Bobak attended Monday’s Village Board meeting, but the only comments directed at him were best wishes for success in his new business.

“It looks like it will be a nice improvement for that site,” said Trustee Michael Mistele.

Village President Frank Trilla said he was unsure when the two new restaurants would open. Both projects won approval from the Willowbrook Plan Commission last month.

The Village Board also was expected to consider potential locations for medical marijuana clinics that could seek to open in Willowbrook under the new state program that grants access to the substance to qualified individuals. However, the Plan Commission was unable to forward a recommendation to the full Village Board after its members split 3-3 at an Aug. 6 meeting on the question of location restrictions. Three members favored limiting marijuana dispensaries solely to locations within manufacturing districts, while three others believed all commercial locations — including shopping centers — were suitable. The seven-member Plan Commission intends to revisit the issue in September; one of its members was absent Aug. 6.

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