Owners of a popular breakfast spot on Lake Street in Oak Park have been pondering a potential move for months, and have apparently settled on a vacant storefront here on Madison Street. The Original Pancake House, a bustling mainstay at the corner with Forest Avenue, is seeking permits for a 118-seat restaurant on the first floor of Madison Commons at 7255 Madison St.
Forest Park’s Department of Public Health and Safety confirmed that architectural drawings were submitted in March to renovate the space. Those plans are under review, according to Director Mike Boyle, and so far no major snags are in the way of the village issuing permits for work to begin.
Since the mixed-use project’s completion roughly three years ago, the Madison Commons development has not been able to find a tenant for the space at 7255 Madison St., which also faces Marengo Avenue. Signs posted recently in the building’s windows announce a lease has been signed but don’t name the tenant.
“I think it’s a great family place,” Laurie Kokenes, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce and Development said. The Original Pancake House has quite a following in Oak Park, said Kokenes, and it’s certainly a plus anytime Forest Park can attract an established business.
Calls to the Taxman Corporation in Oak Park, which owns the Madison Street property, were not returned.
Messages left for the local owner of The Original Pancake House also were not returned. A manager at the restaurant declined to comment on the relocation.
The squat, single-story building on Lake Street that houses the Oak Park eatery was purchased in March 2006 as part of a $9 million land deal. Sertus Capital Partners bought the site and last June unveiled plans for a complex that would include more than 500 parking spaces, about 200 condos and two floors of retail space.
Since announcing those intentions, however, Sertus has not been back before the municipality publicly to discuss the project.
According to Boyle, once the village and architects for the new restaurant hammer out minutia of the project, permits to begin renovations will likely be issued. The project does not need to go before either the zoning or planning boards, said Boyle, because the renovation would be of space for which development agreements were signed in 2003 as part of the approval for the Madison Commons. Because the address is within the village’s zoned Downtown Business District, the restaurant will not be required to provide any additional parking.
The pancake house in Oak Park is one of 16 Illinois locations for the restaurant chain. In all, there are more than 100 locations throughout the U.S. in 29 states, according to the company’s Web site.
Until permits are issued, there’s no projected opening for the restaurant in Forest Park.