Evanston’s Zoning Board of Appeals will discuss the application to open a Little Beans Café in the vacant building at the corner of Asbury and Oakton at its Tuesday night meeting.
Little Beans, which operates a Lincoln Park facility, would have indoor play areas for kids up to 12 years old, as well as a café for parents and children. It is also asking for a drive-thru window for selling drinks, according to the board’s information packet.
The property at 430 Asbury Ave. has been vacant for more than eight years. City staff and the Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee are endorsing the proposal.
“The building is in need of cosmetic repair, the landscaping surrounding the building has not been maintained, and the vacant lot is often used for parking and dumping trash, which has made the property a blight on the neighborhood,” city staff write in the board packet.
Little Beans would have two play areas — one for kids up to 5 or 6 and another for older kids up to 12. Parents accompany their children, but there will also be staff on hand to monitor and clean the play areas, the packet says.
A 30-seat café would serve easy-to-prepare foods and coffee and the drive-thru window would be reserved for selling drinks. The owners expect about 20 percent of the café’s business will come from people who are not there to use the play area.
“We feel that this business will enhance the neighborhood by adding a convenient premium coffee option for local residents,” applicants Robert Spengler and Shannon Valko wrote in their application. “Additionally, the play area and café will be a convenient and comfortable spot where parents can interact with their children.”
The business would operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and have slightly shorter hours on weekends. There may be occasional evening events that would end by 8:30 p.m.
The Zoning Board of Appeals meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers.
What do you think, would this be a good use of that space?