Homewood is one step closer to getting a new craft beer and boutique wine store, after village trustees Tuesday voted in favor of drafting an ordinance to create a new liquor license catered to the potential shop.
Ron Khalaf, owner of Vino e Birra in La Grange and former owner of the now-closed Barley and Hopps in Glenwood, was present during Tuesday night’s board meeting to present his concept. Khalaf said he has 20 years' experience in the liquor business and has been working closely with the village for over six months to determine a location for his new store, tentatively named Grapes and Grain Company.
“I’m not coming to Homewood to open another liquor store,” Khalaf said. “It’s going to be a very classy place.”
According to Khalaf, Grapes and Grain Co. will sell craft beer and high-end wine only. No hard liquor will be sold with the exception of high-end scotch, which Khalaf claims has a heavy following in the area. The planned location is 18029 Dixie, a 5,000 square foot facility.
“The wines I sell—you really can’t find anywhere.” Khalaf said. “They come from small wineries, it’s not mass-produced, it’s very selective and it’s only for a select group of people. We don’t cater to everybody in this store.”
Khalaf insisted no mass-produced domestic beers will be available, ever.
The Board Responds
“This reminds me of something you would find in Bucktown,” Trustee Anne Colton said, in favor of the new shop.
Homewood Village President Richard Hofeld voiced his support for the proposed store as well.
“I think it will add a new dimension to the downtown for shopping and I think it will be a very nice business to have in town,” Hofeld said.
The New Ordinance
Village Attorney Chris Cummings articulated some of the details of the new ordinance after Trustee Colton prompted him with some clarifying questions.
“We’re writing this specifically for the business,” Cummings said.
The new license is planned to allow for the following sales:
- High-end wine
- High-end beer
- High-end scotch
- In-store service of up to two drinks, per person, per day
According to Cummings, Khalaf could sell the business to another qualified owner under the same constraints and the license would transfer. As such, Cummings assured Trustee Colton that meticulous detail will go into the drafting of the ordinance.
“We’re writing this very tightly,” he said.
Upon drafting, the ordinance will return to the board at a later time for voting.