“One of the great beauties in life…eating with friends, the service, the ambience.” — LeRoy Neiman.  

When most people talk about their suburban Downtowns the first topic is usually new restaurants. But professionals who are involved in town planning and economic development know better. Restaurants are the most challenging new businesses for investing, launching and staffing.

Personally, I believe it’s well worth those efforts, as quoted above. And I think of my own beautiful experiences, like traditional cafes from European travel as shown. So I am pleased to report an interesting “case study” recently in my hometown of Glenview.

After years of community input and planning, the Village recently reached agreement with the Ballyhoo Group for a new suburban Downtown river-side restaurant.  This prestigious Group now operates several successful restaurants in North Shore and Lincoln Park locations.

The new site is envisioned as an expanding “spark” area for further revitalized Downtown development. While some may question local government economic support for business, Village leaders have effectively fostered community engagement and appreciation.

Published studies also clearly demonstrate the value created by attracting local customers and related businesses. The Urban Land Institute refers to this as the “Design Dividend” from quality development. Think of Millennium Park and the Chicago riverfront!

Local dining – in attractive landscaped settings – is not just about another place to eat. It can be a magical experience. And we can connect with our neighbors, support our local economy, and build a sense of pride in our community.