Last week the Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously to recommend that the village council grant a conditional-use permit to allow Fiorenza Ristorante to open at 7404 Madison St., in the former Sav-Er grocery store building. The Sav-Er building has been vacant for about three years.
Fiorenza Ristorante will be moving from its current location at 3426 N. Harlem Ave., in Chicago.
Owner William Pierson said that he is attracted to Forest Park because of the vibrancy of Madison Street.
“I live in Oak Park so I’m very familiar with Forest Park and I know a lot of people here; a lot of our customers are from here,” Pierson said.
He added: “This is a very vibrant business community. There are a lot of good things going on on Madison. We like the traffic, we like the vibe. We like the people in town. It’s a good place to be.”
Pierson had looked at moving to 7423 Madison St. but that deal fell through.
The former Sav-Er store is a better location anyway, Pierson told the Zoning Board.
“Some of the issues that were raised in the last site have been eliminated here,” Pierson said. “We have more parking for employees in the back. There are certainly no issues with neighbors on the back side. All the coolers, everything is going to be self-contained within the building. We think we’re in a better place.”
Gloria Backman, who often testifies at Zoning Board of Appeals hearings, agreed.
“I agree with Mr. Pierson,” Backman said. “It’s much nicer design.”
Plans call for the restaurant, which serves northern Italian cuisine, to have seating for more than 100 people, which will make it the second largest restaurant on Madison Street, according to leasing agent David King.
It will also feature a patio with a roof, but no walls, which will allow outdoor dining for about five months a year with seating for about 25 people.
Pierson says he plans to have a piano and “a little entertainment.” What’s more, he hopes to have his restaurant open by early summer.