Alderman Sposato to hold Jan. 19 community meeting on proposed public place of amusement license for Tatas Kitchen and Social in Portage Park
by BRIAN NADIG
Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th) will hold a community meeting next week on a pro- posed public place of amusement license to allow entertainment at Tatas Kitchen and Social, 5700 W. Irving Park Road.
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, at the Portage Park Senior Center, 5431 W. Berteau Ave.
The alderman said that he supports the application.
“It’s a very reputable business, (and) we don’t want to lose it,” Sposato said. Restaurants are looking for additional ways to raise revenue and to attract more patrons given the relatively low profit margins in the industry, he said.
Kitchen and Social, whose sister eatery Tatas Tacos operates at 4929 W. Irving Park Road, opened about a year ago inside the former Veranda restaurant.
It had been hosting comedy shows, live bands and trivia nights but halted these activities, except for some charitable fund-raisers, after the city informed management that a PPA license was required.
Public place of amusement licenses are generally intended for establishments that require an admission fee or a cover charge for entertainment, but venues with a capacity of 100 or more must have the license even when there is no charge for the entertainment.
Restaurant owner Marci Berner said that she was not charging for the shows and was limiting seating to around 80 to 90 people, with reservations required, because she did not have the staff to serve additional patrons. She said the main dining room has the capacity for more than 100 patrons.
The city informed her that the PPA license would nevertheless be required despite the restaurant’s self-imposed limitation of fewer than 100 people, Berner said.
People are often looking for “an experience” when dining out, and it is important to offer entertainment options, Berner said.
Berner said that she wants to offer affordable entertainment options that do not include driving Downtown, where “just the parking is $50.” She added that a dinner theater on Sundays is also being considered.
As part of the licensing process, the restaurant would have to obtain a variation from the Zoning Board of Appeals because the site is next to a single-family home zoning district. The zoning board acts independently of the City Council but does consider recommendations from aldermen.
The restaurant has a parking lot with about 15 spaces, but additional parking at a nearby business is being sought, Berner said.
It also has a rooftop patio, but the demand to sit outside is so high on nice evenings, there is no need to offer live music there, Berner said.
In 2020, the site’s previous occupant, El Viejon Bar and Grill, was issued a cease-and -desist order by the city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection for reportedly holding live music at the restaurant without the proper license. Police had been called to the site at about 1 a.m. on a Saturday following a reported altercation outside the restaurant.
They are no plans to turn the restaurant into a late-night party club, Berner said.
Sposato said that Berner has proven to be a legitimate restaurant operator in the community and that the PPA license would help ensure that the popular business remains open.