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New restaurant moves to Merton

Photographer, catalog business also on tap

Jan. 28, 2013

Village of Merton - The Plan Commission meeting was three hours long but it did accomplish a lot. The village is closer to getting a handicap parking space at the post office and could be welcoming a small-business owner and a new restaurant.

The Village of Merton granted two conditional-use permits for Amanda Pfeiffer's small businesses and Don Shrader's new restaurant, The Steeplehouse Grill.

Post office plans

Pfeiffer will be operating two businesses out of the empty space in the post office building at W282 N7105 Main St.

The first business will be her photography studio, Amanda Pfeiffer Photography. She told the Plan Commission that she will use the space as a studio and as a meeting location for her clients.

The second business Pfeiffer will operate out of the post office is called Consumer Care. It's a catalogue business (no foot traffic) that she's been working with since 2008, finally purchasing the business in 2012. The company has helped parents, therapists, teachers and physicians to develop and manufacture specialized products for individuals with disabilities since 1978.

Parking will have to be addressed, however, and Pfeiffer must work with the current owner of the building, John Wilson of JD Wilson Plumbing LLC, to submit a parking plan within 30 days, to be approved in 90 days. The commission encouraged Pfeiffer and her employees (one or two) to park off site and walk to ensure more parking spaces for the visitors. They cautioned JD Wilson Plumbing to provide a handicap space - he was originally ordered to do so in October 2010.

"We've been waiting too long for this. We're not going to just frou-frou with this and it's not going to get done," Building Inspector Bob Premo said.

Furthermore, JD Wilson Plumbing LLC no longer operates out of that building but still intends to store its utility vehicles in the parking lot. Wilson's been tentatively placed on the commission's agenda for Feb. 20.

If a parking plan can be worked out, then Amanda Pfeiffer Photography and Consumer Care can move in as early as spring 2013.

New restaurant

The current owners of Double Sevens Pub, W282 N7134 Main St., would like to open another full-service restaurant, Steeplehouse Grill, at W282 N7298 Main St. The building used to be a coffee shop and was originally a church.

It's a small space - serving capacity of 50 total patrons - and they hope to create an outdoor space for summertime months. About 16 spaces can be moved outside during outdoor dining times. Tom Neville, owner of The Wicked Grill in Eagle River, will hire and train staff, create the menu and oversee the kitchen installation.

They will be purchasing a liquor license but the commission explained that alcohol is only incidental to the serving of food. This means the establishment is primarily a restaurant and that it only happens to serve beverages. The commission made it clear that they do not want another tavern or bar.

A handful of neighbors present spoke for and against the restaurant. Some were worried about the hours of operation, outdoor seating and how they would fence in the property (if they do). Other neighbors were happy to have a restaurant in the area.

The commission eventually granted the permit to the Steeplehouse Grill. The applicant will return with outdoor seating/landscaping plans and information for their alcohol licensing. They will also need to petition the Village Board if they want to operate past restaurant hours for holidays, receptions or other special events.

"I understand (outside dining) is a concern for you - it's a concern for me, too. However, we'd like to see a business thrive, quite frankly, and personally I think that outside dining is part of the ambience of the place, with some restrictions on top … I think they need to have that right off the start," Bob Weber said.

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