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Two local businesses are one step closer to expanding their operations in Forest Park. Pat and Chris Fleming, owners of Slainte Irish Pub, 7505 Madison St., and Pat O’Brien, proprietor of Scratch Kitchen and Lounge, 7445 Madison St., each presented their proposals to the Zoning Board of Appeals on July 20.

The Fleming brothers were seeking approval to renovate the paved space behind their bar, which opened in 2003, to include an outdoor dining and beer garden.

“We are longstanding business owners in Forest Park, roughly 12 years now, and we would like to expand our business by adding the beer garden. We are not asking for anything more than any of the other bars with beer gardens have right now,” said Pat Fleming, presenting his case to the board.

According to Section 3-3-5 of the Village Code, the beer garden will only be allowed to serve alcohol between 11 a.m. and midnight and live music is prohibited.

There would also be a reduction in parking behind the bar as a result. Currently, six cars are able to park but the beer garden expansion will eliminate three of those spots. However, according to a memo sent to the Zoning Board from Steve Glinke, director of Public Health and Safety, there is precedent for this type of change. Other bars, including Doc Ryan’s, 7432 Madison St. and Gaetano’s, 7636 Madison St. have eliminated parking to expand.

O’Brien’s petition asked for approval to construct a “traditional deli for eat-in, delivery and take-out” at 7444 Madison St., directly across the street from Scratch. A convenience store previously occupied the currently vacant property.

“I want to expand my business to open what I feel is a much-needed classic deli and café,” he said. According to O’Brien, the eatery would serve pastries and fine coffees with catering also available.

“It is needed in the neighborhood,” O’Brien concluded.

The board unanimously approved both petitions.

However, as Chairman Austin Zimmer cautioned, the Zoning Board is only a “recommending body.” With the board’s approval secured, the two proposals must now be presented to the village council for final approval.

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