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Arlington Hts. tavern takes a second swing
Jimmy D's still eyes family-friendly feel
By Sheila Ahern | Daily Herald Staff

Peter Demarakis served Wayne Luke of Arlington Heights in 2006 at Jimmy D's, which could have a new look soon.


Daily Herald file photo

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Published: 11/16/2007 12:15 AM

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For the second time in less than two years, the owners of Jimmy D's Bar are trying to clean up the place's image.

Jimmy's D's is located in the shadow of Arlington Park racetrack at 1718 W. Northwest Hwy. in Arlington Heights. Summer is the bar's busiest season, when regulars shuffle in after the track closes.

But Jimmy D's owners want the place to be more of a family-friendly restaurant that caters to customers year-round. To do that, they're looking to adopt a whole new business plan that will change the bar's menu and look.

Plans call for sprucing up the exterior, adding windows, redoing the bathrooms and -- get this -- shrinking the bar.

Jimmy D's has been an Arlington Heights institution for 20 years, and Peter Demarakis plans on running the restaurant when his father, Jimmy, retires.

Peter and his brother, George, talked to some plan commissioners this week. The project still will need approval from the full plan commission and the village board.

"We want to be a place for families instead of a place for track overflow," Peter Demarakis said. "We have really good food. People don't know that because we look like a tavern."

In October 2006, the village board denied Demarakis' plans to demolish two homes and completely rebuild and expand Jimmy D's.

That plan called for a new 7,000-square-foot Jimmy D's restaurant that would have seated nearly 200 people and included an outdoor patio. A two-story commercial building to the west and two single-family homes to the east were slated for demolition.

The village board denied approval after several neighbors said the expansion would encroach into their residential neighborhood.

"If this weren't adjacent to a neighborhood, it would be good for the community and good for the corridor," Trustee Tom Hayes said at the October 2006 village board meeting. "But this would alter the character of the neighborhood."

The Demarakis family still owns the two homes but doesn't plan to demolish them at this time.

This time around, Demarakis said he also wants to change his menu and add items like salads and wraps.