What Business Should Move Into Pat's Place?

The iconic diner, Pat's Place, closed shop on May 26, 2012. Now that the building is vacant, Skokie Patch wants to know: What kind of business do you want to see move in?

When the iconic downtown diner

Many enjoyed the restaurants comfortable seats, food and the charming owner, Pat Bellos. Located at 5025 Oakton St., the business closed on May 26 due to disagreements on a variety of issues with the landlord, Bellos said.

Downtown Skokie has seen a variety of changes in the last few years. Most recently, a newly built CTA station has brought life to businesses near the intersection of Skokie Boulevard and Oakton Street, not far from the now vacant building.

One local resident also said

All that being said, we want to know: What kind of business do you want to see move into the now vacant Pat's Place?

Chime in by posting a comment below. 

John Michaels July 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM
First lets be straight as to why Pat's Place is closed and available. A very very greedy landlord doubled their rent and now cheats us out of a place to take the family to eat. Everyone knew everyone there and the prices were reasonable. A restaurant should open there, one that would stay open until at least 10pm at night to help keep downtown Skokie alive in the evenings.
h m July 23, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Another thing that downtown Skokie needs is a place to eat early in the morning (5:30). I walk from West of the Library every morning (M-F 5:30am) and there is nothing open.
stacy July 23, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Some sort of coffee place would be nice. Maybe not Starbucks, but an alternative like Carribou Coffee. I think downtown Skokie should get a better known franchise in there rather than a new small business. In my opinion mom and pop small businesses will do better if they see larger, more recognizable businesses investing in downtown Skokie. Park Ridge is a good example of a thriving downtown.
maryjo July 23, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Given the poor behavior of the greedy landlord, ANY business moving in there will come up against the same crap. We were lucky to have Pat's Place. You cannot top 50+ years of good family dining. Anyone else taking the risk of opening a business in that place should be cautious.
Scott Holtz July 23, 2012 at 02:02 PM
There is a lease signed. Apparently that greedy landlord isn't that greedy...
A Skokie mom July 23, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I hope Skokie continues to move onward and upward from the tired mom and pop businesses which do not appear to have noticed the world has moved on without them. Oakton Avenue has its fair share of those, many of which appear to survive only on the goodwill of loyal and aging customers. Of course everyone knew everyone within Pat's Place. No one new to Skokie (meaning anyone who moved in within the last 15 years) would eat in such a place which by all outward appearances looked unkept and unhealthy. Maybe it was a great place to eat, but anyone who was not familiar with the owners would never know that. It is so frustrating to see Oakton Avenue (and not just the Oakton singled out for TIF benefits) look like a mish-mosh of low-rent commercial businesses without regard for standards or uniformity. The statement from the movie 'A Field of Dreams' in which Shoeless Joe says to Kevin Costner , "If you build it, they will come" applies to the good [businesses] as well as the bad [businesses]. This is not a statement of good riddance to the owners of Pat's Place-everyone loves a good diner. However, Pat's Place was an eyesore and enticed very few new customers. This is a reminder of what happens when we ignore changing times, standards and healthy competition.
Tarsis Lopez July 23, 2012 at 07:07 PM
A Starbucks, Caribou Coffee or Einstein's Bagels in this space would be a huge plus for downtown Skokie.
A Skokie mom July 23, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Since it looks to be leased out per the previous comment, let's just hope it is not yet ANOTHER hair salon or dry cleaners!
Skokie Dad July 23, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Every lease expires....when the new one was signed it doubled the rent. yep very greedy landlords. Hopefully the landlord feels the pain of not being able to rent it for awhile.......
Nancy Murphy July 23, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Given the nature of the neighborhood and the way downtown Skokie's going, I think a tattoo parlor would fit right in -- or maybe a place selling cheap fortified beer and wine.
KK July 24, 2012 at 01:39 AM
"Downtown" Skokie needs a decent American family style restaurant that does stay open past 4pm regardless of the season (aka the Desiree). As for Pat's Place - there will be no other but I say how about an ice cream/frozen yogurt and coffee shop.
KK July 24, 2012 at 01:41 AM
...or nail place that's in business one day with Groupon offers and then gone the next!
JOEY FARBER July 24, 2012 at 09:40 PM
JOEY FARBER July 24, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Anna July 25, 2012 at 10:44 PM
I have to agree with Skokie mom. I've lived in Skokie 10 years and was never tempted to go there. Someone needed to spruce that place up, make it look cleaner and more visually appealing.
David Zornig July 26, 2012 at 02:58 AM
It's probable the landlord already had a new tenant lined up, when they rudely hung a giant "For Rent" sign in Pat's window while she was still open for business. (The sign was gone soon after Pat was.) Whether the new tenant will pay the doubled rent Pat passed on, we will never know. But if it was a tenant who would pay for their own build-out, and make the repairs that Pat could not get them to, it's win/win for the landlord. Whatever business moves in there, we shall have to wait & see if it was worth losing an active 50 year business. That consistently brought people to downtown Skokie 5 days a week. People that also shopped at Ace & Walgreen's while parked there. @A Skokie Mom, I moved to Skokie in 2007. And immediately found Pat's and became a regular customer. Mom & Pop stores can & do still work. It's the high rents via the high taxes, that turn successful ones into break even ones. The TIF's are great. But they are for businesses that have matching capital and then some. Not all small businesses can afford those kind of start ups.
David Zornig July 26, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Their ears must have been ringing. A poster for a new restaurant called Alexander's is now up in the window. Here's hopin' it all transpires quickly.
A Skokie mom July 27, 2012 at 10:11 AM
If the rent was so high and someone grabbed the spot this quickly, what does that mean? It most likely means the business owner saw the great potential in Skokie. The high rent did not work for Pat's Place because they did not have the revenue to meet the demand. Where does revenue come from? Customers. I really hope the landlords of downtown Skokie can all double and triple their rents and still find ready, willing and able businesses willing to invest in a healthy pedestrian crowd in downtown Skokie. If the quantity of business is there, it does necessarily mean great cost to us, the supposed customer in downtown Skokie. Quantity of business generally means a boatload of happy customers. It is a tough world for places like Pat's Place, but if you don't have enough happy customers to meet the demand, you find someplace else that will allow you to pay cheap rent. As for downtown Skokie, let's hope any new and ongoing business will have enough happy customers (aka us) willing to engage in business with them to allow them to meet the demands of rent.
David Zornig July 27, 2012 at 04:33 PM
The problem is we don't know that the rent was/is actually "so high". We just know that it was raised on Pat, presumably to get her out. Pat's Place DID have happy customers that met the demand. Just not an artificial demand, that was then thrust upon her through an unrealistic rent increase Did the neighboring vacant storefronts, drive up the commercial value & demand for her spot? Doubtful. To imply her space was grabbed quickly at a higher price, is speculation. If the new tenant's deal was in the works before she even closed, it was likely with caveats for both landlord and tenant. And therefore not a barometer of some bigger picture that the economy improved, and somehow passed Pat by. Only that landlord knows the chronology. Smart commercial landlords work with tenants to keep a space occupied during a bad economy. Obviously Pat wasn't needed anymore. I hope for lots of happy customers for Downtown Skokie too. Actually considered reopening there in hopes the foot traffic could build one day But the rents were too high for my type of business. And hoping they will double or triple anytime soon, is unrealistic and just wishful thinking.
John Even December 15, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Folks, I now live out of state; however, I started going to Pats Plae when it was known as Harry's. During the late 1960's I worked at the Ace Hardware store across the street. My boss would send me over there to get coffee a or chow reguarly. So, I've known Pat for many years and always stopped to to visit her over the yers. After her father died, she took over and kept the business running. How many times did you go past the place and she was still cleaning and working after 5 pm to keep the place nice. Yes, it was old, but she put her heart into it. Over the years, Pat said many times that she wantsed to retire. The hours and the commute. She took a bus daily from the city - Northside, to get to and from work. She tried her best to keep the place open. It was just wearing her out.


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