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Are Neighbors Racist or Restaurant a Nuisance?

By Sean Stillmaker in News on Jan 30, 2011 8:30PM

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Photo By Randi Orlin
The standoff between West Loop residents and the restaurant Plush has been going on for four years. The restaurant attracts a young, professional black crowd, but residents argue the patrons are rowdy and desecrate the neighborhood.

The first of three public meetings regarding Plush, a restaurant/lounge at 1104 W. Madison St., was held Jan. 20 at city hall, the Chicago Journal reports. Plush rests on the border of Ald. Walter Burnett's 27th Ward and Ald. Robert Fioretti's 2nd Ward, and both were present and have been listening to the complaints throughout the years.

Residents argue the patrons are rowdy and racing motorcycles when they exit at 2 a.m. while littering and urinating in the neighborhood. Plush's owner, Billy Kleronomos, argues patrons exiting other West Loop bars exhibit the same behavior, but he's taking the heat because he attracts mostly black customers. In an effort to limit rowdiness, Kleronomos ended Monday DJ nights.

Since July the Chicago Police have responded to seven disturbance calls, one being a murder. In August a man was shot and killed across the street from Plush. The man did not come from Plush, and it's unknown if the shooter did.

In order to shut Plush down the burden of proof rests on the residents. The restaurant's liquor license can be revoked/suspended if the community proves Plush is a public nuisance with deleterious impact. Following city procedures, the decision will be made by a hearing officer of the Local Liquor Control Commissioner.