Brookfield trustees next week are slated to vote to create a liquor license that would allow the new Tom-n-Lou’s Drive In, 8819 Ogden Ave., to sell beer, wine and malt beverages with their burgers and chicken sandwiches.
The request is part of a series of initiatives owner Lacey Mizell has put into motion since opening the restaurant in February, and one she hopes will not only be popular with her customers. The village is also being asked to grant a separate license to allow alcohol to be consumed outdoors on the premises.
“If I get the license, it would be cans of beer or wine,” Mizell told trustees at their committee of the whole meeting on June 14.
If she’s awarded the liquor license, Tom-n-Lou’s would also be Brookfield’s only eatery selling alcohol through a drive-thru window. The license allows not only the sale of beer and wine on premises, but allows alcohol to be purchased to-go in its original packaging.
“I would love to sell alcohol through the drive-thru window,” Mizell said. “I feel like Brookfield would love that. I feel that would be something I would want to market.”
While trustees didn’t venture many opinions on the liquor license request at their meeting, one trustee indicated clear support for it.
“I’ve been there several times, and I’d love to have a beer with my burger,” said Trustee Edward Cote.
Since buying the property and opening the restaurant, Mizell has beautified the look of the small restaurant and has set up a fenced-in outdoor dining area to provide seating that presently doesn’t exist in the tiny space.
She’s also sought to engage the community and other businesses by hosting the food truck from the Chicago Donut Company, which is another Brookfield business, in the Tom-n-Lou’s parking lot every Sunday.
On June 13, the business hosted the first of what Mizell hopes will become a once-a-month car show in its parking lot. In addition to 35 vehicles, Juan Silva of Beach Ave. BBQ roasted a whole pig, making it a party.
“Juan has become a very good friend of ours, and I’ve invited him to do anything he wants on our property,” Mizell said.
Other initiatives Mizell says she’s interested in pursuing is creating a food pantry at the property and also holding clothing drives for women in need.
“I think we’ve changed the way people feel about [this property],” said Mizell, referencing the parade of largely fast-food businesses that have come and gone in the past decade.
Mizell said that eventually she would seek to get a video gambling license from the village, something that would require an addition to be built onto the property but which would also provide another revenue stream.
“I would like to make it a cool lounge area, a hip spot to do gaming,” Mizell said.
The revitalization of that property has not gone unnoticed by the village of Brookfield, which has included in its 2021 road and sidewalk improvement program replacing the sidewalk along the east side of Grove Avenue and removing the parkway to create eight angled parking spaces.
There is already angled parking on the west side of the street, and providing more parking in those streets south of Ogden Avenue is something planners have specifically called out during the ongoing Energize Ogden corridor study.
“I’m glad they’re investing in a site on Ogden Avenue,” said Brookfield Village Manager Timothy Wiberg. “It’s an example of what we hope would happen in the months and years down the road on Ogden.”
Part of the sidewalk/parkway improvement will also include widening the curb cut along Grove Avenue to 24 feet, which will allow better traffic circulation inside the Tom-n-Lou’s parking lot and improve the drive-thru experience.
“It creates more of Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts set up, where you can choose to go straight to the drive-thru or turn into the parking lot,” Mizell said.