A second Taco Bell?

Development company asking for drive-thru off Harlem Avenue

July 2nd, 2020 6:53 PM

Updated: Jul. 3rd, 2020 8:48 AM

West elevation rendering of the proposed Taco Bell at 161 Harlem Ave. | Drawing by MRV Architects, Inc.

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By Maria Maxham

Forest Park may be home to a second Taco Bell restaurant, as a developer is looking to open a drive-thru taco joint at 161 Harlem Ave., currently occupied by Harlem Randolph Car Wash.

According to Steve Glinke, director of public health and safety, head of zoning for the village, a drive-thru will be a good use of the property.

"A contained drive-thru is a better use for this location," said Glinke, since traffic is often backed up for the carwash.

"It's an expansive piece of property with good traffic circulation," Glinke said. The developer came in with "a full packet, including a traffic study," which makes zoning and approval easier.

The restaurant is a project of Ampler Development, the same franchise restaurant group that has been trying to build a Taco Bell at 6000 Roosevelt Rd. in Oak Park. That project has been on hold for months, first due to insufficient traffic data, then because a public hearing on April 1 was postponed because of COVID-19.

In 2017 Bell Development withdrew an application for a Taco Bell at Madison Street and Lyman Avenue in Oak Park after it was unanimously rejected by the Oak Park zoning board. An apartment complex is currently under construction on that site.

A public hearing of the Forest Park Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled for July 20 to consider site plan approval and conditional use for a drive-thru at the location.

Forest Park currently has a Taco Bell on Roosevelt Road within the Forest Park Mall complex.


Article edited to reflect that the 2017 Taco Bell application in Oak Park was from Bell Development.

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