Dave & Buster's May be Coming to Vernon Hills

The restaurant/arcade would be located at Westfield Hawthorn Mall between Carson's and Sears.

Vernon Hills may soon be home to a Dave & Buster's restaurant/arcade.

Dave & Buster's representatives approached the village board with a concept presentation during the committee-of-the-whole meeting Dec. 18. The restaurant/arcade would be constructed at Westfield Hawthorn Mall on both levels between Sears and Carson Pirie Scott.

The 40,000-square-foot facility would have two entrances on the lower level: one inside the mall and the other outside, to permit it to be open past mall hours.

Hide Kashima, development director for Westfield, said Dave & Buster's would occupy a number of upper-level spaces, including Glow Golf and the former Build-a-Bear site.

Lisa Warren, vice president of development for Dave & Buster's, said the Vernon Hills location would be the company's fourth in Chicagoland—the others being in Addison, Chicago and Orland Park. She said she wanted to open up discussions with the village regarding what the company is all about and what it can offer in Vernon Hills "because we're very excited about it."

Warren said Dave & Buster's just celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this month. Founded by friends Dave and Buster in 1982, the company is on the verge of opening its 60th location and has about 7,000 employees. Warren said the company aims to be partners with the communities their restaurants are located in. Dave & Buster's is not only involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but each individual restaurant also chooses charities to get involved with.

The Vernon Hills location, Warren said, would be smaller than its Addison site, which consists of close to 55,000 square feet.

According to village board meeting documents, the restaurant/eating areas would have about 568 seats, and there will be a bar with televisions and booths/tables on the main level, along with private party rooms. The 14,000-square-foot arcade area would contain between 175 and 200 machines.

The entryway/canopy at the mall entrance where Dave & Buster's would be located is expected to be modernized, said Kashima, adding that Dave & Buster's exterior design fits nicely with the planned Westfield Hawthorn improvements.

"I think this is a really nice solution here," said Kashima. "What they've been able to do here is they've been able to create a nice entry portal."

A restaurant, which Kashima referred to as "one of the more popular burger (places)," is set to be located near that mall entrance as well. That restaurant has not yet been named.

The exterior facade will include an area of orange and gray panels. Warren said the orange goes along with the Dave & Buster's branding so that even if customers can't see the sign, they'll see the orange and know that's where Dave & Buster's is.

Village board documents also show that nobody under age 18 will be allowed into the facility unless accompanied by an adult who is at least 25.

Dave & Buster's hopes to open in late 2013 or by spring 2014.

Assistant Village Manager John Kalmar said Dave & Buster's will go through the zoning process in tandem with Westfield Hawthorn, and the company will also need a special use permit for an establishment that serves alcohol and has arcade games.


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