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Council OKs Bistro-Style Bars with Video Poker

The Joliet City Council awarded liquor licenses to three new restaurant/bars that will offer video gaming, and there could be another three by year's end.

Three new restaurant/bars that will offer sandwiches, beer, wine -- and the added attraction of video poker -- won Joliet City Council approval Monday.

Betty's Bistro, with locations at 3068 Caton Farm Road and 2310 Route 59, and Penny's Place, in the same 2410 W. Jefferson St. strip mall as Panda Express, could be open by this summer, depending on how quickly the Illinois Gaming Commission awards the licenses, attorney Michael Hansen said. 

Another three could be open by year's end, he added.

All six will be part of the Blackhawk Restaurant Group of Oak Brook, which is part of an Oregon-based company that specializes in restaurant/bar/video gaming enterprises, said Jim Murphy, Joliet deputy liquor commissioner.

"(These types of businesses) are all over the country in states that allow video poker," Murphy said.

The locations are small, about 1,400 to 1,800 square feet, and sell fresh sandwiches, such as paninis, as well as beer and wine. Each have five video poker machines.

The businesses strive to create an atmosphere that is welcoming to women, as opposed to more traditional bars -- especially sports bars -- that tend to skew more towards a male audience, Hansen said.

"These people really think that this is a market where this will take off," he said.

Mayor Tom Giarrante, who serves as the city's liquor commissioner, added that new businesses wanting to offer video poker and gaming will be allowed only in areas where they won't be competing with existing bars and restaurants.

"We are taking care of (established businesses)," Giarrante said.

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johnqpublic February 05, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Thanks Joliet City Council. Let's welcome in the new group based out of Oregon. Lets just forget about the social clubs that have been around for 75 plus years and are now struggling.
Grandma Says February 06, 2013 at 02:43 AM
Perhaps if the local "social clubs" were more female friendly, we wouldn't need these new businesses. If these "social clubs" are struggling, perhaps they need to take a look at their business practices.
jolietkenny February 06, 2013 at 02:52 AM
Wake up City Council!! These places are set up just to make a fast buck off of the video poker machines. There are plenty of places in Joliet already to grab a beer. Local business should be getting these machines, not out of town carpetbaggers. What happened to your "Buy Local" campaign? Joliet City Council would sell its soul to the Devil if it could make a buck doing it. Next they'll complain that Casino revenues are down and wonder why. DUH!
Don February 07, 2013 at 04:09 PM
All they have to do is apply for a license to get the machines. Barring any other gambling or liquor license pinches, they should get approved with ease. A lot of social clubs don't want them anymore though as the profit they turn from these is significantly lower than the under-the-table machines that they have already been running for years. The social club has to buy the machines, the G gets their share first, then the social club gets their share. These new machines are not cheap. Most of the machines in the past were on lease/loan from the amusement company and the amusement companies simply got a cut of the revenues generated. It's a completely different world with regulated gambling.

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