Cary Village Board postpones vote on liquor, video gaming licenses for Bella's Bistro Market

This rendering shows an example layout of a Bella's Bistro Market. At Tuesday's Village Board meeting, trustees decided for the second time to postpone voting on the proposal.

CARY – For the second time, the Cary Village Board postponed a decision on whether to give Bella’s Bistro Market a liquor license and video gambling license. 

Although the owner of the business maintained the store will be an upscale wine bar with Italian groceries, some trustees and the mayor were concerned it was more of a video gambling café.

“I think that we’re on a slippery slope here,” Mayor Mark Kownick said at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting. “From what I’ve seen and how it’s been presented, it feels more like a gaming parlor.”

When the concept was first proposed to the Village Board in April, the owner planned on occupying the former Sports Clips space, 632 Route 14, according to village documents. However, at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting, Rocky Bhalla – president of RSB Wine Bar Inc., which owns and operates Bella’s Bistro Market – said he would instead look at using a larger corner unit in the Cary Square Shopping Center.

The 2,400-square-foot space would offer small plate menu items paired with Italian wines, and provide off-premises sales of food and wine through the market portion of the store, village documents show. Fresh cut meats, cheeses, olives and olive oils would be among the items offered.

Bhalla said he expects about half of the business’ sales would come from the market, and half would come from food and beverages consumed on-site. 

Preliminary plans for the store’s layout include tables and chairs, a deli counter and bar area, a space with shelves for the market and a separate area for video gambling. 

Cary’s policy previously has been to support video gambling as an accessory to a restaurant or existing business, and licenses granted have been consistent with that policy, according to village documents. Bhalla said he will not move forward with the business in Cary without a video gambling license.

“It’s supplementary,” Bhalla said of video gambling revenues. “Gaming is allowed in Illinois. You guys allow it. It helps us pay the rent – the rents are not cheap in Cary. So it’s part of my concept, and you guys will be happy with what I bring to this town, it will be gorgeous.”

Bella’s Bistro Market has a location in Summit and other locations coming to Round Lake Beach and Bensenville. 

Trustee Ellen McAlpine said she was not excited about what she saw in pictures of the Summit location. 

“You’re telling us it’s going to be totally different,” McAlpine said. “We have nothing that shows us that.”

Bhalla said he would show trustees the Bensenville location, which is expected to open in late summer, because it will be more similar to what he’d create in Cary than the Summit location.

Trustees agreed to postpone giving out liquor and video gambling licenses for future discussions. All trustees voted yes, except for Jim Cosler. 

Two video gambling licenses were unanimously approved at Tuesday’s meeting – one for Tobacco Stop, 688 Route 14, and another at Orchard Prime Meats of Cary, 133 W. Main St.