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La Quebrada’s liquor license revoked

LaQuebradrestaurant HighlSpring downtown Elghad its liquor license revoked Wednesday. January 10 2013  | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

LaQuebrada restaurant, at Highland and Spring in downtown Elgin, had its liquor license revoked on Wednesday. January 10, 2013 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 12, 2013 2:27PM

ELGIN — Following through on a stern warning it issued along with a stiff fine last May, the city council has revoked the liquor license for La Quebrada, 50 N. Spring St. in downtown Elgin.

The revocation Wednesday afternoon came after a complaint filed against the establishment for an employee serving alcohol to an 18-year-old woman the evening of Nov. 1.

The action allows the establishment to stay open to serve food but not offer alcohol under any circumstances.

According to the order before the council, in its role as the liquor control commission, the Rodriguez Corp. — which owns the restaurant and banquet hall in the former Gail Borden Public Library building — did not file a written response to the complaint for a hearing in December and at that hearing admitted to the allegations.

In May, the liquor control commission levied a $2,000 fine and a suspension of the liquor license for 30 days, which Councilman Robert Gilliam said were the toughest penalties he had seen put in place in the 25 years he has served on the commission. At the time, Mayor Dave Kaptain warned that any violations in the next 12 months more than likely would result in the restaurant and banquet facility losing its license altogether.

Documentation for the May liquor control commission session stated that those penalties came about because of issues from the prior 15 months that included several instances of serving alcohol to minors in February 2012 and now-former employees being arrested for selling cocaine to undercover officers in February and April 2011. According to the order for Wednesday’s meeting, La Quebrada had been before the commission for unspecified liquor law violations in June 2007 and May 2012, too.

The spot occupied by La Quebrada at one time was a private mansion, then the first home to Gail Borden Public Library and an annex to Ackemann’s department store, which moved out in 1985. Since then, the spot has held the restaurants The Library (with The Annex below), Bookbinder’s, Facaccia’s, Marlene’s, Luxur and finally La Quebrada, which opened in 2006.

On Wednesday, Councilwoman Anna Moeller noted that La Quebrada had been given a chance to rectify problems but did not, which led to the revocation.

Corporate Counsel William Cogley said the liquor commission typically takes an escalating approach to issues at establishments found to have violations, with the fines and penalties getting more severe if problems persist.

In December, the commission fined the owners of 2JS Wine and Liquor, 950 E. Chicago St., $1,400 and revoked their liquor license. The store had not been paying the city’s liquor tax that went into effect last summer. The spot was gutted by fire the night of Oct. 3, and the city did not hear from the owners per notification of the December meeting and subsequent actions taken by the commission.

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