Burr Ridge Restaurants, Patrons Push for Al Fresco Dining


Becky Neilsen pours a glass of wine from the decanter and dispenser for Dave Brezak on the outdoor patio at Cooper’s Hawk. | Photos by Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media

Al fresco is just a fancy way to say “eating outside;” and, in Burr Ridge, there are more places than ever to do so.

“Everybody wants to eat outside,” said Community Development Director Doug Pollock.

He said the recent surge in requests from restaurants to add outdoor seating is a good sign for the local economy.

“It tells me they are probably filling up quite a bit,” he said.

After approving plans for outdoor dining areas at Wok N Fire and Starbucks in April, the Burr Ridge Plan Commission this week approved two more plans — for an addition to the patio at Topaz and for outdoor seating at Great American Bagel.

Capri Restaurant asked the Plan Commission on Monday for permission to add an outdoor holding area, where people can sit and wait for their table. That plan also was given the go-ahead.

According to Becky Fleck, director of special events at Topaz in Village Center, people are often willing to wait for a table if it means they can dine outdoors. With its outdoor bar and fireplace, the patio at Topaz also is a popular place to lounge, she said. The new space will provide a place to do so, without prolonging the wait for diners hoping for an outdoor table.

“A lot of times people want to have a cocktail party prior to their sit-down dinner,” she said.

The new area will feature couches and high-top tables, along with an additional fireplace, where diners and private parties can relax and socialize.

After several years without outdoor seating, Cooper’s Hawk opened its outdoor dining room this month, giving diners an additional seating option. Melanie Pierce, director of marketing and communications for Cooper’s Hawk, said the addition was in response to customer requests.

“It’s about giving customers what they want,” Pierce said.

Steve Singleton, manager of Eddie Merlot’s, said customers ask every day about the addition of an outdoor dining area.

“We’re in business to please our guests,” Singleton said, so plans are in the works for an outdoor area with a fireplace.

Eddie Merlot’s plans will be before the Plan Commission on May 21.

While the plans approved Monday will have to go before the Village Board before work can begin, Pollock said he sees no reason why the plans won’t get the special-use permits needed to proceed.

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