Restaurant with veterans’ focus clears another hurdle in Merrillville
BY KAREN CAFFARINI Post-Tribune correspondent October 24, 2013 2:54PM
Updated: November 26, 2013 6:29AM
MERRILLVILLE — Owners of the proposed Veterans Cafe & Grill crossed another hurdle Wednesday night and have just one remaining before they can open their doors at 7805 Taft St.
Owners Brian Cody, Bessie Hitchcock and Lorese Wesley received a special exception from the Board of Zoning Appeals Wednesday to open the restaurant in a commercial district.
The owners agreed to reduce the number of seats at the restaurant from 84 to 60 after Zoning director Dorinda Gregor expressed concern that there wouldn’t be enough parking for patrons and employees if all the seats were taken.
“There’s also a counseling business in the plaza and it’s busy at night, too,” Gregor said.
Gregor said the owners must next go to the Town Council for final approval.
The council already showed support for the cafe at a previous meeting, when members agreed to waive the fees required to go through the approval process.
At the time, Cody told council members the restaurant would have veteran owners and employees. The cafe also will sell memorabilia, giving veterans the opportunity to become entrepreneurs.
Cody said he hopes to open the cafe in November.
In other matters, the BZA granted New Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church approval to increase the size and height of its detached garage next to the church at 305 E. 68th Place; it will keep a bus, van and maintenance equipment inside.
The board’s action was made over an objection by an adjacent property owner.
“The church has been broken into several times. The garage is needed for security purposes,” Gregor said.
Also, Delores and Chris Steele were granted special exception approval to conduct a healthcare training center at 5770 Broadway, and John Hunt received approval to increase his attached garage at 6985 E. 86th Court from 864 square feet to 1,056 square feet to store personal items and his mother-in-law’s furniture. Hunt lives on an acre of property.